Tucson Local Terminology
While conversing with a Tucsonan can be an adventure. Terms like “viga” and “nicho” are tossed about as readily as “window” or “fence.” If you’re planning a trip to Tucson, brush up on these Southern Arizona Tucson Word Origin Definintion Terms to fully appreciate the local flavor. Please let us know if we can help you, your family or friends with any real estate in Arizona: info@MyOwnArizona.com or (520) 222-6929. We are here for you!
Acequia: Man made irrigation ditch.
Adobe: Mud brick that is dried in the sun. The first adobe
bricks were used 8,500 years ago in the Middle East.
Alameda: Spanish for “Cottonwood Tree”. This word has come
to mean a road bordered by cottonwoods.
Anasazi: Ancestral Pueblo Indians; the “Ancients.”
Arroyo: Dry riverbed that fills occasionally.
Aspen Tree: High elevation deciduous (drops it’s leaves in
fall) tree with leaves that turn gold in the fall.
Banco: A bench made of adobe and covered with plaster.
Border Town: A town straddling the United States/Mexico border. Visitors are able to walk across the border from Nogales, Arizona to Nogales, Sonora in Mexico. Sights include trinket hawkers, Chiclet-selling youngsters, taco carts and Mexican-craft stalls.
Bosque: Low-lying area near rivers, densely forested with
cottonwoods and other deciduous trees.
Camino: “Road” in Spanish.
Canale: A roof spout that carries water off a flat pueblo
Casa: “House” or “home” in Spanish.
Coping: Decorative detail on the top edge of a building and
around doors and windows.
Corbel: Short sculpted beam lying on top of a post or wall.
Escarpment Ordinances: New laws in the Santa Fe area prohibiting
building on and excavation of mountainsides beyond a certain steepness.
Farolito: “Little Lantern”, typically a paper bag with a sand
ballast and candle, lighted for Christmas festivities. Referred to as
a Luminaria outside of Santa Fe.
Flagstone: Flat sheets of red or white stone mined locally,
used for flooring in homes and on patios.
Ghost Town: A town whose population has dwindled or disappeared, usually in reaction to the depletion of a central resource. In Arizona, many ghost towns represent the rise and fall of copper, silver and other mining enterprises. Tombstone and Bisbee are two of the best-recovered ghost towns, now frequently visited by tourists.
Historic Styles Ordinances: Regulations governing the architectural
style of all buildings within the Historic District of downtown Santa
Horno: Freestanding adobe bread oven found at most pueblos
and Indian homes.
Javelina: [hav-a-LEE-na] A wild, hoofed mammal of the peccary family which usually travels in herds, is most active at night, and is common in central and southern Arizona. Sometimes referred to as a “wild pig,” although that is not technically correct. Do not approach, corner or feed!
Juniper Tree: High-desert evergreen that seldom grows more
than 15 feet tall.
Kachina: [ka-CHEE-na] Carved figures of Hopi origination, traditionally used in ceremonies and storytelling, but now also made for collecting and demonstrating artistic skill. Sometimes called “kachina dolls.”
Kiva: A small “beehive-shaped” fireplace.
La Fonda: “The Hotel” in Spanish.
La Posada: “The Inn” in Spanish.
Latillas: Small branches used as ceiling planking, made of
Aspen, pine or cedar.
Lintel: Wooden beam bridging window or door openings.
Luminaria: Fire built on the sidewalk on Christmas Eve for
carolers to gather around. (See also Farolito.)
Mesa: Flattop mountain called “a table” in Spanish.
Monsoons: Moist, southerly, seasonal winds from the Sea of Cortez and Gulf of Mexico that kick up dust storms and bring humidity and rain to our desert. Flash flooding is possible. Monsoons roll in between mid-June and late September (days are denoted by a dewpoint of 55°F or higher).
Nicho: Small shelf carved into a wall.
The Old Pueblo: Tucson’s nickname for itself. As in, “The Old Pueblo sure has some fantastic sights to see!”
Paseo: Passage or walkway, or “to promenade.”
Pinon Tree: High-desert nut-bearing evergreen tree.
Plaza: Public square in the center of town, site of traditional
evening paseo or “promenade.”
Portal: Patio attached to a home, covered with a fixed roof
supported by posts.
Presidio: Military bases established by the Spanish in the 18th century. There are presidios scattered throughout southern Arizona, including the Presidio San Augustín de Tucson and the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac.
Puerta: “Door” in Spanish.
Rumford Fireplace: Tall, shallow fireplace known for great
Saguaro: [suh-WAR-oh] A pillarlike cactus (sometimes with one or more arms) common in — and exclusive to — the Sonoran Desert.
Saltillo Tile: Simple fired earthen tile made in Saltillo,
Sky Island: The appearance of seemingly isolated mountaintops. This sight is created by the combination of high peaks with deep valleys, and considerable cloud cover, and can be seen from higher elevations in the Santa Catalina mountains.
Snowbird: Part-time desert residents who migrate to Arizona for the duration of winter.
Sonoran Desert: The arid region that blankets 120,000 square miles in southwestern Arizona and southeast California, most of Baja California, and the western half of the Mexican state of Sonora. The Valley of the Sun, Tucson and Palm Springs are the major tourism destinations therein, due to the warm winter season.
Stucco: Final cement color coat plastered in the exterior
of an adobe-style building.
Talavera Tile: Colorful hand-decorated Mexican tile used for
counter tops and trim.
Tohono O’odham: [toe-HOE-no O-dam] An American Indian tribe native southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert. The Tohono O’Odham Nation is located just south of Tucson and is home to the historic San Xavier del Bac misson, Kitt Peak National Observatory and Desert Diamond Casinos, among other sights. The translation of the name means “People of the Desert.”
Ventana: “Window” in Spanish.
Vigas: Round logs used as ceiling beams, either shaved or
Wildcat: The official mascot of the University of Arizona. As in, “Go Wildcats!”
Tucson Real Estate Dictionary Definitions
Understanding Tucson Real Estate Word Origin Definition terminology can be of great assistance in buying or selling a home, commercial property, or investment property. In order to help you understand words commonly used in a Tucson real estate transaction, we have prepared a list of Tucson Real Estate Word Origin Definition terms you may become familiar with.
Agent: One acting under authority of a principal to do the principal’s business. The agent must use his or her best efforts and keep the principal fully informed of all material facts.
1. A reduction in a debt obligation by periodic payments covering interest, and part of the principal.
2. The writing off or expensing of the cost of intangible assets over a period of time, usually in years. Amortization of intangible assets vs. depreciation of tangible assets. Intangible assets purchased, such as goodwill and covenants-not-to-compete, can be written off over 15 years.
Appraisal: An educated estimate of the value of a property on a certain date given by a person, usually after an inspection of the property.
Appreciation: A gain in value due to any cause. Real estate is an asset that often appreciates in value over time.
ARM: A mortgage whose interest rate is raised or lowered at periodic intervals according to the prevailing interest rates in the market.
As is: Implied in most Agreements of Purchase and Sale, suggests the buyer is accepting the property in it present state and relinquishes and responsibility from the buyer.
Asset Sale: This term has two definitions: The means by which a business owner transfers ownership of tangible and intangible assets to another owner without transferring the ownership structure; the sale of a business enterprise at a price based solely upon the value of the tangible assets.
Attorney-In-Fact: One who is appointed, in writing, to perform a specific act for and in place of another, e.g. signing documents for someone in their absence.
Bankruptcy: a) A person who has done any of the acts that by law entitle his creditors to have his estate administered for their benefit; b) a person judicially declared subject to having his estate administered under the bankrupt laws for the benefit of his creditors; c) a person who becomes insolvent.
Bid: To offer (a price) whether for payment or acceptance.
Bill Of Sale: A written agreement by which one person assigns or transfers his or her rights to or interest in goods and personal property to another.
Broker: One who acts as an agent for another (his/her principal) when negotiating with third parties on behalf of the principal. This arrangement falls under “agency” law applicable in the state in which the principal – agent arrangements arises.
Business Broker: An intermediary dedicated to serving clients and customers who desire to sell or acquire businesses. A business broker is committed to providing professional services in a knowledgeable, ethical and timely fashion. Typically, a Business Broker provides information and business advice to sellers and buyers, maintains communications between the parties and coordinates the negotiations and closing processes to complete desired transactions.
Cancellation Clause: A clause in a lease or other contract stating the condition(s) under which the contract can be canceled or terminated by any of the parties. It may provide for simple notice or possible payment of money to cancel the contract.
Closing Statement: A written accounting of funds to seller and buyer at passing of papers.
Consideration: Something of value which induces a person to enter into a contract. The promise to do something must be in exchange for some act or thing of value which is the consideration. This is a necessary element in a contract.
Contract: A voluntary and lawful agreement between two or more parties to do, or not to do, something. Elements of an enforceable contract include: (a) an offer to be bound to do or refrain from doing something, which has been accepted, (b) sufficient consideration, (c) a valid subject matter, (d) legal capacity of the parties, and (e) for those contracts to which the Statute of Fraud applies, its requirements must be met.
Contingency: A clause in an agreement, contract, escrow, etc. that only makes it binding upon the occurrence of a stated event.
Credit Union: A cooperative organization that makes loans to its members at low interest rates.
Credit Risk: An estimate of the amount of credit that can be extended to a company or person without undue risk.
Discretionary Earnings: The earnings of a business enterprise prior to the following items: income taxes, nonoperating income and expenses, nonrecurring income and expenses, depreciation and amortization, interest expense or income, owner’s total compensation for those services which could be provided by a sole owner/manager.
Earnest Money: A sum of money given to bind an agreement or an offer.
Exclusive Right To Sell Listing: When a business owner gives one Broker or Agent the authority to sell his/her business. The Broker or Agent receives commission no matter who sells the business – even if the seller finds the buyer during the listing period.
Fiduciary: Acting in a relationship or position of trust, usually regarding financial matters or transactions.
Finders Fee: An amount paid to another party for locating and referring a client or customer.
Home Equity Loan: A loan or credit line that is secured by the equity the borrower has in a home.
Home Loan: a) Money lent at interest; b) something lent usually for the borrower’s temporary use.
Indemnity: Payment that compensates for an incurred loss or damage.
Interest Rate: The monthly effective rate paid (or received if you are a creditor) on borrowed money. Expressed as a percentage of the sum borrowed. The percentage usually on an annual basis that is paid for the use of money borrowed from another
Irrevocable: Incapable of being recalled or canceled; unchangeable.
Lease: A written legal document in which possession of a property is given by the owner (lessor) to second party (lessee) for a specified time and for a specified rent, and setting forth the conditions upon which the lessee may use and/or occupy the property.
Lease With Option To Purchase: A lease in which the lessee has the right to purchase the property for a stipulated price at or within a stipulated time.
Leasehold: A property held under tenure of lease; a property consisting of the right of use and occupancy by virtue of a lease agreement; the lessee’s (tenant’s) interest in a lease.
Letter Of Intent (LOI): A document agreement between a buyer and a seller used in connection with the acquisition of a company. The letter of intent describes the basic terms and conditions of the transaction between the buyer and the seller, including price, due diligence periods, exclusivity or no-shops, and the basic conditions to closing the deal. Customarily presented before a definitive purchase agreement is entered into, the letter of intent provides a road map for the parties involved in the transaction.
Lien: A claim or charge upon real or personal property for the satisfaction of some debt or duty which can arise either by agreement or by operation of law.
Market Value: An asset’s market value is the price it would fetch in the market, if it were sold in the current marketplace.
Mortgage: A temporary, conditional pledge of property to a creditor as security for performance of an obligation or repayment of a debt.
MLS: IDX, or broker reciprocity, is a listing sharing arrangement between brokers within a Mulitple Listing Service.
Net-Net-Net Lease(Triple Net Lease): A lease in which the tenant (lessee) pays a prorata share of normal property expenses such as real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc., thereby assuring the landlord (lessor) of a fixed income.
Option: A written agreement granting to a party the exclusive right, during a stated period of time, to buy or obtain control of property or assets on specified terms, but without any obligation of such party actually to exercise such option.
Prime Rate: The lowest rate of interest on bank loans at a given time and place, offered to preferred borrowers.
Property Tax: A tax levied on real or personal property.
Proration: The division of money obligations according to some formula. In a business closing, a seller may have paid for certain benefits into the future which are assumed by the buyer. The costs of these benefits are “prorated” between the seller and the buyer as part of the closing statement (e.g. prepaid rent, prepaid advertising, security deposits).
Purchase Agreement: The agreement setting out the terms for the purchase of a business. A purchase agreement is the “road map” followed by the buyer and the seller in a business transaction. It would include items such as a description of what is being purchased, the down payment and repayment terms, contingencies to be satisfied, buyer and seller representations, warranties, and indemnification’s, and so on.
Sublease: A lease where the lessee can be the lessor, in effect, on a subsequent lease. The owner of the property often must approve in writing the tenant’s right to sublease to a new tenant. This is different from a “master lease” where the lessee has greater control over subletting the property.
Subordination: The act of making an encumbrance secondary or junior to another lien.
Title: Evidence that the person or entity claiming to be the owner of the property is in fact the lawful owner thereof; an instrument evidencing such ownership.
Title Insurance: A type of insurance which guarantees the ownership and quality of title to land.
Transaction Value: The total of all consideration passed at any time between the Buyer and Seller for an ownership interest in a business enterprise and may include, but not be limited to, all remuneration for tangible and intangible assets such as furniture, equipment, supplies, inventory, working capital, non competition agreements, employment and/or consultation agreements, licenses, customer lists, franchise fees, assumed liabilities, stock options, stock or stock redemptions, real estate, leases, royalties, earn-outs and future considerations.
Be sure to contact us for any of your real estate needs here in Pima County, AZ. Please let us know if we can help you, your family or friends with any real estate in Arizona: info@MyOwnArizona.com or (520) 222-6929. We are here for you!