Terms to Know

We know the lingo when it comes to title insurance and title work, but we also know that it can get complicated, so we’ve created this thorough list of title terminology.

1031 Exchange
A 1031 Exchange is an IRS provisions which allows the owner of a property to exchange their property for another of like-kind while deferring payment of state and federal capital gains taxes.

1. Abandonment of Homestead
A recorded document, executed by those claiming a homestead exemption, giving up said homestead. Not applicable to all states and procedure must be according to local statutes.

2. Abstract
A summary; an abridgement. Before the use of photo static copying public records were kept by abstracts of recorded documents.

3. Abstract of Judgment
A summary of the essential provisions of a court judgment which when recorded in the county recorder’s office creates a lien upon the property of the defendant in that county, both presently owned or after acquired.

4. Abstract of Title
A compilation of the recorded documents relating to a parcel of land from which an attorney may give an opinion as to the condition of title. Still in use in some states but giving way to the use of title insurance.

5. Abut
To touch or border upon. A piece of land bordering on a street or an adjoining property is said to abut such street or property.

6. Acceleration Clause
Clause used in an installment note and Mortgage (or Deed of Trust) which gives the lender the right to demand payment in full upon the happening of a certain event, such as failure to pay an installment by a certain date, change of ownership without the lender’s consent, destruction of the property (see WASTE) or other event which endangers the security of the loan (see ALIENATION CLAUSE).

7. Access
The right to enter and leave a tract of land from a public way. "Often-times the right to enter and leave over the lands of another."

8. Accession
The right of an owner to an increase in his property by natural means (such as a riparian owner’s right to an abandoned river bed, rights of alluvium and relict ion, etc.) or artificially by improvements.

9. Accommodation Recording
The recording of documents with the county recorder by a title insurance company, without liability (no insurance) on the part of the company, but merely as a convenience to a customer.

10. Accretion
The gradual addition to the shore of bank of a waterway. The land generally becomes the property of the owner of the shore or bank except where statutes specify otherwise.

11. Acknowledgment
A written declaration by a person executing an instrument, given before an officer authorized to give an oath (usually a notary public), stating that the execution is of his own volition.

12. Acre
A measure, usually of land, equal to 160 square rods (43,560 square feet) in any shape.

13. Action to Quiet Title
A court action to establish ownership to real property. Although technically not an action to remove a cloud on title. The two actions are usually referred to as "Quiet Title" actions (see CLOUD ON TITLE).

14. Administrator
A person appointed by a probate court to settle the affairs of an individual dying without a will. "The term is administration if such a person is a woman."

15. Advances
Money advanced by a Mortgagee (beneficiary under a Deed of Trust) to pay the mortgagor’s (trustor’s) obligations of taxes, insurance or other items necessary to protect the secured property.

16. Adverse Possession
A method of acquiring title by possession under certain conditions. Generally, possession must be actual, under claim of right, open, continuous, notorious, exclusive, and hostile (knowingly against the rights of the owner). Exact time (years) of possession and specific requirements (such as payment of property taxes) vary with the statutes of each state.

17. Affidavit
A written statement or declaration sworn to before an officer who has authority to administer an oath.

18. Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant
A document which establishes of record the death of a deceased joint tenant and establishes vesting in surviving joint tenant(s).

19. After Acquired Title
Legal doctrine by which property automatically vests in a grantee when the grantor acquires title to the property after the deed has been executed and delivered.

20. Agreement of Sale
Have two separate meanings depending on area of the country. In some states it is synonymous with a purchase agreement (see PURCHASE AGREEMENT. In other states it is synonymous with a land contract (see LAND CONTRACT).

21. AKA - "Also Known As"
Used frequently, e.g., California Fair Housing Law aka Rumford Act.

22. Alienation Clause
A type of acceleration clause calling for a debt under a Mortgage or Deed of Trust to be due in its entirety upon transfer of ownership of the secured property. Also called a "due-on-sale" clause.

23. All-Inclusive Deed of Trust
A second or junior Trust Deed with a face value of both the amount it secures and the balance due under the first Trust Deed. The beneficiary under the all-inclusive collects a payment based on its face value and then pays the first beneficiary. It is most effective when the first has a lower interest rate then the second since the beneficiary under the all-inclusive gains the difference between the interest rates or the trustor under the wrap-around may obtain a lower rate than if refinancing (See WRAP-AROUND).

24. A.L.T.A. - American Land Title Association
An organization composed of title insurance companies which have adopted certain insurance policy forms to standardize coverage on a national basis.

25. Amendment
A change either to correct an error or to alter a part of an agreement without changing the principle idea or essence.

26. Amortization
Payment of a debt or obligation in equal installments over a given period so that at the end of the period the debt is completely extinguished (opposite of a balloon payments).

27. Appraisal
An opinion of value based upon a factual analysis. Legally, an estimation of value by two disinterested persons of suitable qualifications. An Appraisal is an evaluation of the property to determine "Fair Market Value" of the property. Often used by lenders to compare the value of the house to the amount being loaned.

28. Appraisal Report
A written report by an appraiser containing his opinions as to the value of a property and the reasoning leading to the opinion. The factual data supporting the opinion, such as comparables, appraisal formulas and qualifications of the appraiser, will also be set forth.

29. Approved Attorney
An attorney approved by a title insurance company as one whose opinions of title will be accepted by the company and relied upon for the issuance of title insurance policies.

30. Appurtenance
Something belonging to something else, either attached or not, such as a barn to a house or an easement to land. The appurtenance is part of the property and passes with it upon sale or other transfer.

31. Arbitrary Map
A map drawn by a title company to be used in locating property in areas where legal descriptions are difficult and complex. Areas are arbitrarily subdivided usually by ownership at a given time into lots which are numbered. Recorded documents are then posted to these arbitrary lots by the same "arb" number.

32. Area Code
Code set by the County Tax Assessor referring to tax rate area which reflects everything that determines area tax multiplier which in turn determines individual taxes.

33. Assessed Value
Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the tax assessor.

34. Assessment

  • The estimating of value of property for tax purposes.
  • A levy against property in addition to general taxes usually for improvements such as streets, sewers, etc.

35. Assessor
A public official who evaluates property for the purpose of taxation.

36. Assessor’s Parcel Number – A.P.N.
An arbitrary number given to each taxable parcel of land by the county for tax assessment purposes.

37. Assignee
One who receives an assignment (pl. assigns).

38. Assignment
A transfer to another of any property, real or personal, or of any rights or estates in said property. Common assignments are of Leases, Mortgages and Deeds of Trust but the general term encompasses all transfers of title.

39. Assignment of Rents Clause
A clause in a Trust Deed which gives the beneficiary the right to collect rents of the secured property in the event of a default.

40. Assignment of Rents and Agreement Not To Sell or Encumber Real PropertyOutdated document which a creditor used to encumber a debtor’s real property. Does not carry non-judicial rights to sell.

41. Assignor
One who makes an assignment.

42. Assumption of Deed of Trust (Assumption of Liability)
Agreement by a buyer to assume the liability under an existing note secured by a Mortgage or Deed of Trust. The lender usually must approve the debtor in order to release the existing debtor (usually the seller) from liability.

43. Assumption of Mortgage
An obligation undertaken by the purchaser of land to be personally liable for payment of an existing note secured by a mortgage. As between the lender and the original borrower, the original borrower remains liable on the mortgage note.

44. Attorney in Fact
One who holds a power of attorney from another allowing him to execute legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, etc., on behalf of the grantor of the power.

45. Attorney's Opinion
A written opinion by an attorney that ownership of the particular parcel of land is as stated in his opinion.

46. Attachment
An act of seizing persons or property by judicial order to bring them within the custody of the court. Most commonly the seizure of property to furnish security for a debt in connection with a pending action.

47. Avulsion
A sudden and substantial tearing away of land by water and the deposit of said land as an addition to the land of another owner. The original boundaries apply and ownership of the land in question remains in the original owner.

1. Balloon Loan
A short term mortgage, usually less than 10 years, that have some features of a fixed rate mortgage, but remaining balance to be paid in full, which may be accomplished by refinancing.

For example: A 10 year balloon loan for $150,000, amortized at a 30 year fixed rate loan at 6.5%, will have a balance of $128,112 that has to be paid off or refinanced at the end of the 10 year term.

2. Balloon Note
A note calling for periodic payments which are insufficient to fully amortize the face amount of the note prior to maturity so that a principal sum known as "balloon" is due at maturity.

3. Bankruptcy
Proceedings under federal bankruptcy statutes by which the property of a debtor is seized by the court and divided among his creditors. Voluntary bankruptcy is petitioned by the debtor, involuntary by the creditors.

4. Base Line
A survey line used in the government survey to establish township lines. The base line runs East and West through a principal meridian (line running North and South).

5. Beneficial Estate
An estate, the right to possession of which has been postponed, such as a devise under a will. More commonly, an estate, the legal ownership of which has not yet vested as under a land contract (an equitable estate).

6. Beneficial Interest
The equitable rather than legal ownership of property such as under a land contract.

7. Beneficiary

  • One for whose benefit a trust is created.
  • In states in which Deeds of Trust are commonly used instead of Mortgages, the lender (mortgagee) is called the beneficiary.

8. Beneficiary’s Demand
Written instructions by a beneficiary under a Deed of Trust stating and demanding the amount necessary for issuance of a reconveyance whether a full or partial amount.

9. Beneficiary’s Statement
A statement by a lender under a Deed of Trust setting forth the pertinent information necessary to assume said Deed of Trust such as the unpaid balance, monthly payment and interest rate.

10. Binder of Commitment
An enforceable agreement that upon satisfaction of the requirements, which are, stated in the binder the insurer will issue the specified title insurance policy subject only to the exceptions stated in the binder. A binder sets forth status of title as of a particular date.

11. Blanket Deed of Trust

  • A Trust Deed covering more than one property of the trustor such as a Trust Deed covering all the lots of a builder subdivision.
  • A Trust Deed covering all real property of the trustor both present and future. When used in this meaning, it is also called a "general Deed of Trust".

12. Block
In some states a part of a subdivision legal description such as Lot 1, Block 1, Tract 1.

13. Board of Equalization
State board charged with the duty to bring equitable uniformity to the various local property tax assessments.

14. Bond

  • An insurance agreement under which one party becomes surety to pay, within stated limits, financial loss caused to another by specified acts or defaults of a third party.
  • An interest bearing security evidencing a long-term debt, issued by a government or corporation, and sometimes secured by a lien on property.

15. Building (Restriction) Line or Setback
A line fixed at a certain distance from the front and/or sides of a lot or at a certain distance from a road or street, which line marks the boundary of the area within which no part of any building may project. This line may be established by a filed plat of subdivision, by restrictive covenants in deeds or leases or by building codes or by zoning ordinances.

16. Bureau of Land Management
The branch of government in change of surveying public lands.

1. CC&R’s – Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
A term used in some areas to describe the restrictive limitations which may be placed on property. In other areas simply called restrictions.

2. Certificate of Authenticity
Proof from the county seat that a person is authorized in that state as a notary public.

3. Certificate of Redemption
Evidence of redeeming (buying back) a property by the owner after losing it through a judicial sale. The time limit for redemption is set by statute.

4. Certificate of Sale
Certificate issued to the buyer at a judicial sale (such as a tax sale) which will entitle the buyer to a Deed upon confirmation of the sale by the court if the land is not redeemed within a specified time.

5. Certified Copy
A true copy attested to be true by the officer holding the original or recorded copy thereof.

6. Chain
A term of land measurement being 66 feet in length.

7. Chain of Title
The chronological order of conveyance of a parcel of land from the original owner (usually the government) to the present owner.

8. Chains and Links – Measurements
In real estate measurements (surveying) a chain is 66 feet long or 100 links (each link being 7.92 inches). The measurement may change when used in fields other than surveying.

9. Chattel Mortgage
A lien on personal property (also called a Security Interest or Financing Statement).

10. Clear Title
One, which is not encumbered or burdened with defects.

11. Cloud on Title
An invalid encumbrance on real property, which if valid, would affect the rights of the owner. For example: "A" sells Lot 1, Tract 1 to "B". The Deed is mistakenly drawn to read Lot 2, Tract 1. A cloud is created on Lot 2 by the recording of the erroneous Deed. The cloud may be removed by Quitclaim Deed or if necessary by court action.

12. Closing
Often referred to as "settlement". The process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, leases or other required instruments are signed or delivered. Additionally, the accounting between parties is made, monies disbursed and recording of all pertinent documents prepared.

13. Coinsurance
Insurance in which more than one insurer shares a part of a single risk. Insurance with another of a risk. Coinsurance is usually affected by separate contracts of insurance by separate companies, each of which undertakes a fractional part of the whole risk.

14. Collateral
Marketable real or personal property which a borrower pledges as security for a loan. In mortgage transactions, specific land is the collateral.

15. Color of Title
That which gives the appearance of good title but actually contains some defect. For example, a conveyance given without the grantor having good title.

16. Commercial Property
That which is designated by zoning ordinances as "commercial", not for residential use.

17. Commitment to Insure
A report issued by a title insurance company, or its agent, showing the condition of the title and committing the title insurance company to issue a form policy as designated in the commitment upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment.

18. Common Area
The area owned in common by the owners of condominiums or planned unit development homes in a subdivision.

19. Community Property
Property owned in common by a husband and wife which was not acquired as separate property. A classification of property peculiar to certain states.

20. Comparables
Properties used as comparisons to determine the value of a specific property.

21. Condemnation
Taking private property for public use through court proceedings.

22. Condition
In real property law some limiting restriction to a Grant or Conveyance of property stating that upon the happening or not happening of a stated event the estate shall be changed in some manner.

23. Conditional Sales Contract
A sale in which the title to property or goods remains with the seller until the purchaser has fulfilled the terms of the contract, usually payment-in-full (see LAND CONTRACT).

24. Conditions and Restrictions
A common term used to designate the uses to which land may not be put and providing penalties for failure to comply. "Commonly used by land sub-dividers on newly platted areas.

25. Condominium
A structure of two or more units in which the interior space of which are individually owned and the balance of the property (both land and building) is owned in common by the owners of the individual units. The size of each unit is measured from the interior surfaces (exclusive of paint or other finishes) of the exterior walls, floor and ceiling. The balance of the property is called the common area.

26. Conservator
A person appointed by the court to protect and preserve the lands and property of an individual physically incapacitated or otherwise not able to handle his own affairs.

27. Constructive Notice
Notice given by publishing in a newspaper, recording or other method which legally notifies the parties involved but may not actually notify them.

28. Contingent Beneficiary
One who under the terms of a Will or Trust may or may not share in the estate upon the happening of an uncertain event. For example, "A" leaves property to "B" when "B" reaches age 30 stipulating that if "B" dies before age 30 the property goes to "C". "C" is the contingent beneficiary.

29. Contract for Dead
An agreement to sell and purchase under which title is withheld from the purchaser until such time as the required payments to the seller have been completed.

30. Controller’s Deed
A Deed issued by the state usually at the time property is sold due to tax delinquency.

31. Convey
The act of deeding or transferring title to another.

32. Conveyance
Transfer of title to land. Includes most instruments by which an interest in real estate is created, mortgaged or assigned.

33. Cooperative
A residential multi-unit building owned by and operated for the benefit of persons living within.

34. Corner Lot
A lot contiguous to two intersecting streets and for purposes of value having access to both streets.

35. Co-tenancy
Ownership of the same interest in a particular parcel of land by more than one person; e.g., tenancy in common, joint tenancy, tenancy by the entireties.

36. County Mortgage
A mortgage placed on property by the county to secure aid given to indigent persons. Usually paid upon sale of the property (also called Indigent Mortgage).

37. County Records
Public recorded documents by which notice is given of changes of title, liens and other matters affecting real estate.

38. Covenant
Generally almost any written agreement. Most commonly in real estate, assurances set forth (express) in a Deed by the grantor or implied by law. For example, covenant against encumbrances, covenant, right-to-convey, etc.

39. Creditor
One who is owed a debt.

40. Cul de Sac
The terminus of a street or alley. Usually laid out by modern engineers to provide a circular turnaround for vehicles. In French "the bottom of the sack."

41. Curbstone Appraisal

1. D.A.
"Doesn’t Apply".

2. Datedown
A complete title report issued within six months of the original report to the same customer.

3. D.B.A. – "Doing Business As"
An identification of the owner or owners of a business and the business name, not a partnership or corporation.

4. Debt
Money owing from one person to another.

5. Debtor
One who owes a debt.

6. Declaration of Homestead

7. Declaration of Restrictions
A set of restrictions filed by a sub-divider to cover an entire tract or subdivision.

8. Declaration of Trust
A written acknowledgement by one holding legal title to property that the property is held in trust for the benefit of another.

9. Decree of Distribution
The final determination of the rights of heirs to receive the property of an estate.

10. Dedication
The giving by an owner of private property for public use and the acceptance by the proper public authority. Most commonly the dedication by a builder of the streets in a subdivision.

11. Deed
Any one of many conveyance or financing instruments, but generally a conveyance instrument, given to pass fee title to property upon sale.

12. Deed of Reconveyance

13. Deed of Trust
An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage. Property is transferred to a trustee by the borrower (trustor) in favor of the lender (beneficiary) and reconveyed upon payment-in-full.

14. Deed Restrictions
Limitations on the use of property placed in the conveyance Deed by the grantor which binds all future owners.

15. Default
An omission or failure to perform a legal duty.

16. Default Judgment
A judgment entered against a party who fails to appear to defend against the action.

17. Defective Title

  • Title to a negotiable instrument obtained by fraud.
  • Title to real property which lacks some of the elements to transfer good title.

18. Defendant
The person against whom a civil or criminal action is brought.

19. Deferred Payments

  • Payments to begin at a future time.
  • Installment payments.

20. Deficiency Judgment
The amount due on a note and mortgage if the foreclosure sale does not bring enough to cover the debt. The judgment is for the total amount and not for the deficiency.

21. Delayed Reconveyance
A reconveyance of a Deed of Trust which is issued and recorded after transfer of title and issuing of title insurance (not showing the Deed of Trust). Usually occurs when the lender is in another state and will not issue the reconveyance until paid-in-full.

22. Delivery
The final and absolute transfer of a deed from seller to buyer in such a manner that it cannot be recalled by the seller. " A necessary requisite to the transfer of title."

23. Demand
A letter from a lender showing the amount due in order to pay off a Mortgage or Trust Deed.

24. Demise
A lease or conveyance for "life" or "years". Loosely used to describe any conveyance whether in fee for "life" or for "years".

25. Delinquent Taxes

26. Devise
Real estate left by will.

27. Discount Points
The amount of money the borrower or seller must pay the lender to get a mortgage at a stated interest rate. This amount is equal to the difference between the principal balance on the note and the lesser amount, which a purchaser of the note would pay the original lender for it under market conditions. A point equals one percent of the loan.

28. Documentary Tax Stamps
Stamps affixed to a Deed showing the amount of transfer tax paid.

29. Documentary Transfer Tax
A state tax on the sale of real property based on the sale price or equity transferred being fifty-five cents for each five-hundred dollars of the taxable amount (also known as IRS tax).

30. Dominant Tenement
A parcel of land which benefits from an easement. For example, an easement exists over Parcel A for access to Parcel B. Parcel B is the dominant tenement and Parcel A is the servient tenement.

31. Dower
An estate for life to which a married woman by statute is entitled on the death of her husband owned during their marriage. Dower has been abolished by statue in some states. The reason for requiring a wife’s joining in the deed of any land by her husband is the release of her dower right.

32. Drive-By Appraisal
An appraisal in which the appraisers estimates the value of property from his knowledge of previous neighborhood sales comparison of the subject property to those sales and visual inspection of the outside of the house (also known as CURBSTONE APPRAISAL).

33. Due-on-Sale Clause

34. Duplex
Any building containing exactly two dwelling units. Most commonly refers to the units which are side-by-side with a common wall and roof.

1. Earnest Money
Advance payment of part of the purchase price to bind a contract for property.

2. Easement
A right created by grant, agreement, prescription or necessary implication which one has in the land of another. It is either for the benefit of land (appurtenant) such as right to cross "A" to get to "B" or "in gross" such as a public utility easement.

3. Egress
A term concerning a right to come and go across the land (public or private) of another. Usually part of the term ingress and egress.

4. Eminent Domain
A governmental right to acquire private property for public use by condemnation and the payment of just compensation.

5. Encroachment
Generally, construction onto, or use of, the property of another as a wall, fence, building, etc.

6. Encumbrance
A claim, lien, charge or liability attached to and binding real property. Any right to or interest in land which may exist in one other than the owner but which will not prevent the transfer of fee title.

7. Equitable Lien
A lien enforceable in a court of equity based on evidence of intent between debtor and creditor to create a lien on specific property of the debtor but a failure to legally create said lien.

8. Equitable Ownership or Title
Ownership by one who does not have legal title such as a vendee under a land contract, or technically a trustor under a Deed of Trust (legal title being in the trustee) (also called Equitable Title)).

9. Equity
The market value of real property less the amount of existing liens.

10. Equity Participation
A type of mortgage transaction in which the lender, in addition to receiving a fixed rate of interest on the loan, acquires an interest in the borrower’s land and shares in the profits derived from the land.

11. Equity of Redemption
The right to pay off the lien of a mortgage which is in default by payment of the principal interest and cost which are due. Often confused with the redemption period after the foreclosure sale which is a right established by statute.

12. Escheat
A reversion of property to the state in the absence of an individual owner. Usually occurs when a property owner dies interstate without heirs.

13. Escrow
Delivery of a Deed by a grantor to a third party for delivery to the grantee upon the happening of a contingent event. In some states all instruments necessary to the sale (including funds) are delivered to a third (neutral) party with instructions as to the delivery of the instruments.

14. Estate
The interest or nature of the interest which one has in property such as a life estate, the estate of a deceased, real estate, etc.

15. Estate for Life

16. Estate for Years
Any estate for a definite period of time, commonly a lease.

17. Et Al

18. Et Ux
"And wife".

19. Examination of Title
The interpretation of the record title to real property based on the title search or abstract.

20. Exception
In legal descriptions that portion of lands to be deleted or excluded. "The term is often used in a different sense to mean an objection to title or encumbrance on title or condition excluded from coverage under a title insurance policy."

21. Executor’s Deed
A deed, court approved, under which the grantor is an executor or one who is appointed under Will to carry out the terms of the Will. If female executor known as "Executrix Deed".

1. Fee Simple
An estate under which the owner is entitled to unrestricted powers to dispose of the property and which can be left by will or inherited (commonly a synonym for "ownership").

2. F.H.A. – Federal Housing Administration
A federal agency which insures first mortgages on residences enabling lenders to loan a very high percentage of the sale price.

3. FHLMC (Freddie Mac)
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, an affiliate of the Federal Home Loan Bank, which creates a secondary market in conventional residential loans and in FHA and VA loans by purchasing mortgages from members of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

4. Fictitious Deed of Trust
A Deed of Trust recorded by a trustee that discloses all the general terms and provisions contained in the Deed of Trust but does not relate to a specific transaction. It is used for reference only.

5. Fiduciary
A person who bears a special relationship of trust, confidence and responsibility to others, such as a trustee or agent.

6. Filing
The delivery of real estate documents to a county/city recorder for recording.

7. Final Decree
A decree completely deciding all pending matters before a court and obviating the need for further litigation.

8. Final Judgment of Dissolution
A decree dissolving a marriage.

9. Financing Statement
A document prepared for filing with Register of Deeds or Secretary of State indicating that personal property or fixtures is/are encumbered with a debt.

10. First Mortgage
A mortgage having a priority first lien position over any other mortgage or lien on the same property.

11. Fixtures
Personal property which is attached to real property and is legally treated as real property while it is so attached. Fixtures not specifically excepted from an accepted offer to purchase or pass with the real estate.

12. FNMA – Federal National Mortgage Association – Fannie Mae
A private corporation dealing in the purchase of first mortgages at discounts.

13. Foreclosure
A proceeding in or out of court to extinguish all right title and interest of the owner(s) of property in order to sell the property to satisfy a lien against it.

14. Free and Clear
Real property against which there are no liens especially voluntary liens (Trust Deeds).

15. Freehold
An estate at least of duration of a lifetime, or of fee.

16. Full Appraisal
An appraisal which includes a full inspection of the property to ascertain a value.

17. Future Interest
A present interest but only a future right to possession and enjoyment of the land such as a remainder interest, reversionary interest, etc.

1. General Index – G.I.
A title insurance company term for the books used to find liens against individuals which may affect real property but which are not recorded against the property being insured such as liens against a buyer.

2. General Warranty Deed
A deed containing a covenant whereby the seller agrees to protect the buyer against being dispossessed because of any adverse claim against the land.

3. Gift Deed
A deed for nominal consideration.

4. GNMA (Ginnie Mae)
Government National Mortgage Association, a government corporation which provides a secondary market for housing mortgages and special assistance to mortgagee financing housing under special FHA mortgage insurance programs.

5. Government Lots
Irregular shaped parcels of land usually fronting on water which could not practically be divided into sections under government survey.

6. Government Survey
The survey from which our present system of townships, sections, etc. was developed.

7. Grant
To transfer an interest in real property either the fee or a lesser interest such as an easement.

8. Grant Deed
One of many types of Deeds used to transfer real property. Contains warranties against prior conveyances or encumbrances. When title insurance is purchased warranties in a Deed are of little practical significance.

9. Grantee
One to whom a grant is made, generally the buyer.

10. Grantor
One who grants property rights.

11. Guarantee of Title
A guaranty by an abstract company or title company that title is vested as shown on the guarantee. Backed only by the assets or reserves of the guarantor.

12. Guardian
One appointed by the court to administer the affairs of an individual not capable of administering his own affairs.

1. Heir
One who might inherit or succeed to an interest in lands under the rules of law applicable where an individual dies without leaving a will.

2. Heirs and Assigns
Terminology used in deeds and wills to provide that the recipient receives a "fee simple estate" in lands rather than a lesser interest.

3. Hiatus
A Gap or space unintentionally left between, when attempting to describe adjacent parcels of land.

4. Holograph or Holographic Will
A will written and executed entirely in the handwriting of the testator.

5. Homeowners Tax Exemtion
A tax exemption given to property owners that use the property for their primary place of resident.

6. Homestead
The dwelling (house and contiguous land) of the head of a family. Some states grant statutory exemptions protecting homestead property usually to a set maximum amount against the rights of creditors. Property tax exemptions for all or part of the tax are also available in some states. Statutory requirements to establish a homestead may include a formal declaration to be recorded.

7. HUD
A summary of the financial portion of the real estate transaction required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

1. Implied Warranties
The warranties inferred and not expressed in a Deed which uses the word "grant" to convey a fee estate.

2. Improvements
Generally buildings but may include any permanent structure or other development such as a street, utilities, etc. (see ON-SITE IMPROVEMENTS and OFF-SITE

3. Indemnify
To secure against hurt, loss or damage to make compensation to for hurt, loss or damage.

4. Ingress and Egress
A right to enter upon and pass through land.

5. In Gross
Personal rather than attached to land. An easement in gross has no dominant tenement.

6. Inheritance Tax
A tax on the transfer of property from a deceased person based on the right to acquire the property rather than the property itself.

7. In RE
"In the matter of".

8. Installment Land Sales Contract

9. Installment Loan
A loan calling for payment of specified amounts or specified minimum amounts at specific intervals.

10. Institutional Lenders
Banks, savings and loan associations and other businesses other than individuals or companies that make loans infrequently to employees.

11. Instrument
Any writing having legal form and significance such as a Deed, Mortgage, Will, Lease, etc.

12. Insurance of Title
Insurance as to whom owns a specified interest in designated real estate, and showing as exceptions to the insured interest the defects, liens and encumbrances which exist as against that insured interest.

13. Interest

  • A share or right in some property.
  • Money charged for the use of money (principal).

14. Interlocutory Decree
A provisional or temporary decree pending some contingency before a final decree. Sometimes the contingency may be only the passage of time.

15. Interlocutory Decree of Dissolution
A temporary decree previous to the final decree of divorce. No title transfer takes place until the final decree.

16. Intestate
Without leaving a Will or leaving an invalid Will so that the property of the estate passes by the laws of succession rather than by direction of the deceased.

17. Involuntary Lien
A lien such as a tax lien, judgment lien, etc., which attaches to property without the consent of the owner rather than a mortgage lien to which the owner agrees.

1. Joint Tenancy
An interest taken by two or more joint tenants. The interest must be the same, accruing under the same conveyance, beginning at the same time and held under the same undivided right to possession. Upon the death of a joint tenant the interest passes to the surviving joint tenants without passing to the heirs of the deceased.

2. Judgment Lien
A lien against the real property of a judgment debtor; an involuntary lien.

3. Judgment or Judgement
The decision of a court of law. Money judgments, when recorded, become a lien on real property of the defendant.

4. Judicial Sale
A sale made under court order by one court-appointed rather than a voluntary sale by the owner or one appointed by the owner.

1. Land
A general term which includes the ground and those things of a permanent nature such as trees, crops, oil and minerals in the ground unless specifically excepted.

2. Land Contract
An installment contract for the sale of land. The seller (vendor) has legal title until paid-in-full. The buyer (vendee) has equitable title during the contract term.

3. L.C.P. – Limited Coverage Policy
Offered by some title companies as an alternative to full coverage. Does not fully insure title but rather guarantees information.

4. Lease
An agreement by which an owner of real property (lessor) gives the right of possession to another (lessee) for a specified period of time (term) and for a specified consideration (rent).

5. Leasehold
An estate in realty held under a lease; an estate for a fixed term. Considered in many states to be personal property.

6. Legal Description
A method of geographically identifying a parcel of land which is acceptable in a court of law.

7. Legal Title
Usually title without ownership rights such as the title placed in a trustee under a Deed of Trust or the title in a vendor under a land contract.

8. Lender's Title Insurance
An insurance policy, which protects the lender against claims and losses that may arise if the title is unmarketable or defective.

9. Lessee
The party to whom a lease (the right to possession) is given in return for a consideration (rent).

10. Lessor
The party (usually the owner) who gives the lease (right-to-possession) in return for a consideration (rent).

11. Levy
A collection, seizure, assessment, etc., such as a levy (assess and collect) taxes.

12. Lien
An encumbrance against property for money either voluntary or involuntary. All liens are encumbrances but all encumbrances are not liens.

13. Life Estate
An estate in real property for the life of a living person. The estate then reverts back to the grantor or on to a third party (remainder man).

14. Link
In surveying a length of 7.92 inches.

15. Lis Pendens
A legal notice recorded to show pending litigation relating to real property and giving notice that anyone acquiring an interest in said property subsequent to the date of the notice may be bound by the outcome of the litigation.

16. Loan Policy
A title insurance policy insuring a mortgagee or beneficiary under a Deed of Trust against loss caused by invalid title in the borrower or loss or priority of the Mortgage or Deed of Trust.

17. Location Survey
Mortgage Location Surveys are normally required by the lender in order to obtain additional coverage against encroachments on the property.

18. Lot
Generally, any portion or parcel of real property. Usually refers to a portion of a subdivision.

19. Lot and Block Description

20. Lot Book
An abstract of title showing all recorded instruments affecting title to a given piece of property.

21. Lot Split
The sale of a part of a pre-existing parcel of land. Lot splitting is generally regulated by local zoning ordinances.

1. Majority
The age at which a person is entitled to handle his own affairs.

2. Marketable Title
Title which can be readily marketed (sold) to a reasonably prudent purchaser aware of the facts and their legal meaning concerning liens and encumbrances.

3. Market Value
The highest price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller accept, both being fully informed, and the property exposed for a reasonable period of time. The market value may be different from the price a property can actually be sold for at a given time (market price).

4. Marshall’s Deed

5. Mechanic’s Lien
A lien created by statute for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price or value of work performed and materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land and which attaches to the land as well as the improvements.

6. Merger of Title
A lesser interest in real property being merged (absorbed) into a greater interest. For example, a lessee purchases the property being leased. The interest as a lessee is merged into the interest as an owner thus ending the leasehold interest.

7. Meridian
A circle or semi-circle around the Earth in a North and South direction always touching or passing through the poles. Used as a guide in surveying being placed twenty-four miles apart and running from a base line.

8. Mesne Assignment
Assignment from "A" to "B" to "C" to "D" would be described as passing from "A" by "mesne assignments" to "D".

9. Metes and Bounds
Description of land by boundary lines with their terminal points and angles. Originally, metes referred to distance, bounds to direction. Modernly, the words have no individual meaning of practical significance.

10. Microfiche
Data source used by title companies to find information about each parcel of real property in that county. Small photograph of records usually referenced by situs address, owner or tax parcel number.

11. Modification of Deed of Trust
A document that changes a term or terms within the body of the original Deed of Trust.

12. Mortgage

  • To hypothecate as security, real property for the payment of a debt. The borrower (mortgagor) retains possession and use of the property.
  • The instrument by which real estate is hypothecated as security for the re-payment of a loan.

13. Mortgagee
The party who loans the money and receives the Mortgage.

14. Mortgagor
The party who borrows the money and gives the Mortgage.

1. Non-judicial Foreclosure Sale
Sale by a trustee under a Deed of Trust or mortgagee under a power of sale of a Mortgage. There are no court (judicial) proceedings.

2. Notary Public
One who is authorized by the state or federal government to administer oaths and to attest to the authenticity of signatures. A federal authorization may extend the authority to the authenticity of certain documents and to act as a notary in foreign countries.

3. Note
A unilateral agreement containing an express and absolute promise of the signer to pay to a named person, or order or bearer a definite sum of money at a specified date or on demand. Usually provides for interest and, concerning real property, is secured by a Mortgage or Trust Deed.

4. Notice of Action
A recorded notice that property may be subject to a lien or even that the title is defective due to pending litigation. Notice of a pending suit also called "LIS PENDENS".

5. Notice of Cessation
A notice stating that work has stopped on a construction project. Done to accelerate the period for filing a mechanic’s lien.

6. Notice of Completion
A notice recorded to show that a construction job is finished. The length of time in which mechanic’s liens may be filed depends upon when and if a Notice of Completion is recorded.

7. Notice of Default
A notice filed to show that the borrower under a Mortgage or Deed of Trust is in default (behind in payments).

8. Notice of Lis Pendens

9. Notice of Non-responsibility
A notice filed by an owner of property to show that work being done has not been contracted for by said owner. If properly done, mechanic’s liens will not attach to the property. Often done when a tenant contracts for work on property.

10. Notice of Rescission
A recorded notice to rescind a Notice of Default of a Mortgage or Deed of Trust.

11. Notice of Sub-Standard Property
A notice recorded by the county to indicate that owner of property has stated time to restore property to standard. If not done, the county will do it and assess the owner.

12. Notice of Trustee’s Sale
A notice recorded to show that a sale is to take place by a trustee under a Deed of Trust at auction pursuant to foreclosure proceedings.

1. Open-End Mortgage or Trust Deed
A mortgage or Trust Deed permitting the mortgagor to borrow additional money under the same mortgage with certain conditions usually as to the assets of the mortgagor.

2. Option
A right which acts as a continuing offer given for consideration to purchase or lease property at an agreed upon price and terms within a specified time.

3. Ownership
Rights to the use, employment and alienation of property to the exclusion of others. Concerning real property, absolute rights are rare being restricted by zoning laws, restrictions, liens, etc.

4. Owner’s Policy
Title insurance for the owner of property rather than a lien holder.

5. Owner's Title Insurance
A policy of title insurance usually insuring an owner of real estate against loss occasioned by defects in, liens against or other conditions rendering the owner's title to the property unmarketable.

1. Parcel
A general term meaning any part of portion of land containing within a single description.

2. Partial Reconveyance

3. Partial Release
A release of a portion of property covered by a Mortgage. A sub divider will obtain a partial release as each lot is sold upon payment of an agreed amount. In areas where the sub divider is not usually the builder it may be necessary to sell groups of lots to obtain a partial release. In areas where Deeds of Trust are used instead of Mortgages a "Partial Reconveyance" is the document used.

4. Partition
Any division of real or personal property between co-owners resulting in individual ownership of the interests of each.

5. Patent
A document issued for the purpose of granting public lands to an individual.

6. Persona Property
Any property which is not designated by law as real property.

7. Plaintiff
The party bringing a civil action against a defendant.

A map dividing a parcel of land into lots as in a subdivision.

9. Point
1% (one percent). When referring to Mortgages or Deeds of Trust, the term is used to describe the percentage of discount rather than interest (for which the word "percent" is used). The points are paid by the seller in F.H.A. and V.A. insured loans and by either buyer or seller (or both) in conventional loans.

10. Policy of Title Insurance
A contract indemnifying against loss resulting from a defect in title to the interest or lien in real property insured.

11. Power of Attorney
An authority by which one person (principal) enables another (attorney-in-fact) to act for him.

  • General Power authorizes sale, mortgaging, etc. of all property of the principal. Invalid in some jurisdictions.
  • Special Power specifies property, buyers, price and terms.

How specific it must be varies in each state.

12. Power of Sale
Clause in a Mortgage or Deed of Trust giving the mortgagee or trustee the power to sell the property in the event of default. There are laws which govern the sale which must be at public auction but there is no court action necessary (judicial foreclosure).

13. Preliminary Title Report
A report showing the condition of title before a sale or loan transaction. After completion of the transaction a title insurance policy is issued.

14. Prepayment Penalty
Penalty to the mortgagor for payment of the mortgage debt before if becomes due.

15. Principal
Amount of debt not including interest. The face value of a Note, Mortgage, etc.

16. Priority
That which comes first in time or importance. In regards to Liens, the time of recording establishes priority.

17. Promissory Note
A promise in writing and executed by the maker to pay a specified amount during a limited time, or on demand or at sight, to a named person, or on order, or to bearer.

18. Property
Anything which is owned by someone. Property is classified a either real property or personal property.

19. Property Address
A way of naming a parcel of improved property. Place where mail or other communication reach a person.

20. Property Profile
A Property Profile is a description of your property showing ownership, real estate tax information, sales and loan information and comparables of similar properties.

21. PIF – Property in Question and OP – Other Property
Phrase used to designate that document referring to affects property in addition to the parcel in question that has been described by the specific legal description for the property address indicated on a report of title.

22. Property Tax
Generally a tax levied on both real and personal property. The amount of the tax is dependent on the value of the property.

23. Public Records
Usually at a county level, the records of all documents which are necessary to give notice. The records are available to the public. All transactions for real estate sales should be recorded.

24. Purchase Agreement
An agreement between a buyer and seller of real property setting forth the price and terms of the sale.

25. Purchase Money Trust Deed
A Deed of Trust given by the buyer to the seller as part of the purchase consideration as opposed to a hard money Deed of Trust.

1. Quiet Title

2. Quitclaim Deed or Quit Claim Deed
A deed operating as a release intended to pass any title, interest or claim which the grantor may have in the property but not containing any warranty of a valid interest or title in the grantor.

1. Range
A division of a state in the government survey being a six-mile wide row of townships running North and South and used in legal descriptions.

2. Real Estate

  • Land and anything permanently affixed to the land such as buildings, fences and those things attached to the buildings such as light fixtures, plumbing and heating fixtures or other such items which would be personal property if not attached. The term is generally synonymous with real property although in some states a find distinction may be made.
  • May refer to rights in real property, as well as the property itself.

3. Real Property

4. Re-conveyance
An instrument used to transfer title from a trustee to the equitable owner of real estate. When title is held as collateral security for a debt. Most commonly used upon payment in full of a Trust Deed. Also called a Deed of Re-conveyance or Release.

5. Record Title
The aspects of title, which appear in the public records, as distinguished from unrecorded title aspects and interests.

6. Recorded Map
A map recorded in a county recorder’s office. May be a subdivision map or describe a non-subdivided parcel. Reference to a recorded map is commonly used in legal descriptions.

7. Recorder’s Office
The governmental office where instruments are recorded giving public notice.

8. Recording
Filing documents affecting real property as a matter of public record giving notice to future purchasers, creditors or other interest parties. Recording is controlled by statute and usually requires the witnessing and notarizing of an instrument to be recorded.

9. Redemption
The process of canceling a defeasible title to land such as is created by a mortgage foreclosure or tax sale.

10. Redemption Period
A time period during which a Mortgage, Land Contract, Deed of Trust, etc. can be redeemed. Usually set by statute and after judicial foreclosure.

11. Reinsurance
The act of an insurer transferring a portion of the risk to other insurers. The original insurer is sole insurer for a portion of the risk and shares the risk in the excess amount with the re-insurers. The first portion of the loss risk retained by the ceding company as its sole liability is called the "primary liability."

12. Re-issue Rate
A reduced rate of title insurance premium applicable in cases where the owner of the land has been previously insured in an owner’s policy by the insurer within a certain time.

13. Release
An instrument releasing property from the lien of the Mortgage, Judgment, etc. When a Trust Deed is used the instrument is called a reconveyance. In some areas a "discharge" is used instead of a release.

14. Release Clause
A clause in a blanket encumbrance allowing for the "release" of certain parcels upon payment of a specified amount. For example, a builder mortgages an entire subdivision under one loan. As he sells each house the lender releases the lien upon that house upon a specified payment by the builder.

15. Remainder

  • An estate which vests in one other than a grantor after the termination of an intermediate estate. For example, "A" grants land to "B" for life then the remainder to "C", his heirs or assigns. If "A" grants to "B" for life then back to "A" it is not a remainder but reversion.
  • The portion of a property remaining after a taking under eminent domain.

16. Release of Inheritance Tax Lien
Document recorded most often when right of survivorship exists thus giving notice that the property is not inherited. Therefore no lien can be placed on the property.

17. Remainder
An interest or estate in land in a person other than the grantor in which the right of possession and enjoyment of the land is postponed until the termination of some other interest or estate in that land.

18. Request for Notice of Default
A recorded request by a mortgagee or beneficiary under a Deed of Trust for notification of a recorded Notice of Default on a prior lien.

19. Request for Reconveyance
A request by a beneficiary under a Deed of Trust to the trustee requesting the trustee to reconvey the property (release the lien) to the trustor usually upon payment-in-full.

20. Restriction
Most commonly used to describe a use or used prohibited to the owner of land. Restrictions are set forth by former owners in Deeds or in the case of a subdivision, a declaration of restrictions is recorded by the developer. A limitation on use of the property by law (zoning ordinances) may also be termed a restriction.

21. Reversion
The right to possession of the residue of an estate in a grantor or successors of a grantor or testator commencing upon the termination of a particular estate, granted or devised.

22. Right of Survivorship
The right of a survivor of a deceased person to the property of said deceased. A distinguishing characteristic of a joint tenancy relationship.

23. Right of Way
A strip of land which is used as a roadbed either for a street or railway. The land is set aside as an easement or in fee either by agreement or condemnation. May also be used to describe the right itself to pass over the land of another.

24. Riparian Rights
Rights of an owner to water on, under or adjacent to his land.

25. Rod
A unit of linear measure equal to 16-1/2 feet.

1. Sale and Leaseback
A financial device which an owner of land may employ to raise money and still have the use of the land by selling the land to his financier and immediately leasing it back for the period he wishes to use it.

2. Satisfaction
Discharge of an obligation by payment of the amount due as on a Mortgage, Trust Deed, Contract or payment of a debt awarded such as satisfaction of a judgment. Also the recorded instrument stating said payment has been made.

3. Search
Exploration of public records in an effort to find all recorded instruments related to a particular chain of title.

4. Second Mortgage
A mortgage ranking in priority immediately below a first mortgage.

5. Secondary Financing
A loan secured by a Mortgage or Trust Deed which lien is junior (secondary) to another Mortgage or Trust Deed.

6. Secondary Mortgage Market
The buying and selling of first Mortgages or Trust Deeds by banks, insurance companies, government agencies and other mortgagees. This enables lenders to keep an adequate supply of money for new loans. The mortgages may be sold at full value (part) or above but are usually sold at a discount. The secondary mortgage market should not be confused with second Mortgages.

7. Second Deed of Trust
A Deed of Trust which ranks after a first Trust Deed in priority. Properties may have two, three or more Mortgages, Deeds of Trusts or Land Contracts as liens at the same time. Legal priority would determine whether they are called a First, Second, Third, etc. lien.

8. Section
A division of parcel of land on a government survey comprising one square mile (640 acres). Thirty-six sections comprise a township.

9. Security
Real or personal property pledged or hypothecated by a borrower as additional protection for the lender’s interest.

10. Separate Property
Property owned by a husband or wife in which the other has no legal ownership interest.

11. Servient Tenement
An estate burdened with a servitude. Most commonly a parcel of land burdened by an easement for the benefit of another parcel (DOMINANT TENEMENT).

12. Set Back Lines
Those lines which delineate the required distances for the location of structures in relation to the perimeter of the property.

13. Severalty
An estate in severalty is property held by one person alone.

14. Sheriff’s Deed
Deed given at sheriff’s sale in foreclosure of a Mortgage. The giving of said Deed begins a statutory redemption period. Also given at court ordered sale pursuant to the execution of a judgment.

15. Single
One who has never been married as differentiated from "unmarried" which means had been married. For conveyancing and insurance purposes however, single is commonly accepted as terminology indicating that a party is not currently married.

16. Situs
Location, place.

17. Special Assessment
Lien assessed against real property by a public authority to pay costs of public improvements (sidewalks, sewers, street lights, etc.) which directly benefit the assess property.

18. Special Warranty Deed
A deed containing a covenant whereby the seller agrees to protect the buyer against being dispossessed because of any adverse claims to the land by the seller, or anyone claiming through him.

19. Starter
A copy of the last policy issued by a title insurer which describes the condition of title to land upon which a new policy is to be written. In some states, this is furnished to an attorney for his opinion as to the condition of title and is called a Back Title letter or Back Title certificate.

20. Statement of Identity – S.I.
A confidential form filled out by buyer and seller to help a title company determine if any liens are recorded against either. Very helpful when people with common names are involved.

21. Straight Note
A promise to repay a loan signed by the debtor and containing the date executed, amount owing and to whom, date due (or on demand), rate of interest and how it is payable. A straight note is not amortized.

22. Subdivision
Commonly a division of a single parcel of land into smaller parcels (lots) by filing a map describing the division and obtaining approval by a governmental commission (city or county). The exception is a condominium which is sometimes called a "one lot subdivision".

23. "Subject To" Clause
A clause in a Deed stating that the grantee takes title "subject to" an existing Mortgage. The original mortgagor is alone responsible for any deficiency should there be foreclosure of the Mortgage. Differs from an "assumption" clause whereby the grantee "assumes" and agrees to pay the existing Mortgage.

24. Subordination Agreement
An agreement by which an encumbrance is made subject (junior) to a junior encumbrance. For example, a loan on vacant land is made subject to a subsequent construction loan. Also used to make junior a previously recorded encumbrance to one that is recording presently.

25. Substitution of Trustee
A document in which the beneficiary may change the trustee under an existing Deed of Trust.

26. Subsurface Right
The right to ownership of everything beneath the physical surface of the property.

27. Survey
The process of measuring land to determine its size, location and physical description.

1. Tax Deed

  • Deed from tax collector to government body after a period of non-payment of taxes according to statute.
  • Deed to a purchaser at a public sale of land taken for delinquent taxes. The purchaser receives only such title as the former owners had and strict procedure must be followed to prevent attachment of prior liens.

2. Tax Delinquencies
Property taxes owed that if not paid after a redemption period could force a tax sale.

3. Tax Lien

  • A lien for non-payment of property taxes. Attaches only to the property upon which the taxes are unpaid.
  • A federal income tax lien. May attach to all property of the one owing the taxes.

4. Tax Parcel Number

5. Tax Roll
A list usually published by a county containing the descriptions of all parcels in said county, the names of the owners (or those receiving the tax bill), the assessed value and tax amount.

6. Tax Sale
Public sale of property at auction by governmental authority after a period of non-payment of property tax.

7. Tax Search
A part of a title search which determines if there are any unpaid taxes or assessments which may be a lien against the property being searched.

8. Tenancy in Common
An undivided ownership in real estate by two or more persons. The interests need not be equal and in the event of the death of one of the tenants no right of survivorship in the other owners exists.

9. Tenant
Any person in possession of real property with the owner’s permission.

10. Termite Inspections
Termite Inspections are normally required on all FHA and VA loans. This is an inspection of the property by a certified professional to determine if there are any wood destroying insects or visible damage to the structure.

11. Testate
The estate or condition of leaving a will at death. "To die Testate."

12. Testator
One who makes or has made a testament or will. "Most commonly a man."

13. Testatrix
A woman who makes or has made a testament or will.

14. Title
The evidence one has of right to possession of land.

15. Title Defect
Any legal right held by others to claim property or to make demands upon the owner.

16. Title Insurance
Insurance against loss resulting from defects of title to a specifically described parcel of real property. Defects may run to the fee (chain of title) or to encumbrances.

17. Title Plant
A filing of all recorded information to real property paralleling the records of the county recorder’s office although the filing system may be different.

18. Title Report
A report of title issued which guarantees the lender against any errors or omissions in the report that will cause him a loss due to his loan.

19. Title Search
A review of all recorded documents affecting a specific piece of property to determine the present condition of title.

20. Torrens System
A governmental title registration system wherein title to land is evidenced by a certificate of title issued by a public official know as the registrar of title.

21. Township
A territorial division of land established by federal survey being six miles square and containing thirty-six sections, each one mile square.

22. Township Lines
Survey lines which divide townships at their Northern and Southern boundaries. The East and West boundaries are called Range Lines.

23. Tract
A parcel of land. In some states, synonymous with a subdivision.

24. Transfer
The act by which the title to property is conveyed from one person to another.

25. Transfer Tax

26. Trust
A fiduciary relationship under which one holds property (real or personal) for the benefit of another. The party creating the trust is called the settler. The party holding the property is the trustee. The party for whose benefit the property is held is called the beneficiary.

27. Trust Deed

28. Trustee

  • One who is appointed or required by law to execute a trust.
  • One who hold title to real property under the terms of a Deed of Trust.

29. Trustee’s Deed
A deed by a trustee under a Deed of Trust issued to a purchaser at auction pursuant to foreclosure. Also a deed provided by the Trustee of a Trust in a conveyancing.

30. Trustee’s Sale
A sale at auction by a trustee under a Deed of Trust pursuant to foreclosure proceedings. Also, the sale of property by teh Trustee of a Trust. 

31. Trustor
The borrower under a Deed of Trust. One who deeds his property to a trustee as security for the re-payment of a loan.

1. Undivided Interest
A partial interest by two or more people in the same property whether the interest of each is equal or unequal.

2. Uniform Commercial Code – U.C.C.
A code (laws) which regulates the transfer of personal property. It took the place of the various state statutes covering chattel mortgages, conditional sales, trust receipts, etc.

3. Unimproved Land
Most commonly land without buildings. It can also mean land in it’s natural state.

4. Unit
An apartment, condominium, house in a subdivision, etc.

5. Unities
The peculiarities necessary to form a valid joint tenancy. Unity of time, title, interest and possession.

6. Unity of Interest
In joint tenancy, the joint tenants must acquire their interest by the same conveyance and said interest must be equal.

7. Unity of Possession
In joint tenancy, the joint tenants must have equal rights to possession.

8. Unity of Time
To have a valid joint tenancy the joint tenants must acquire title at the same time.

9. Unity of Title
In joint tenancy, the holding by the joint tenants under the same title.

10. Unmarried
One who had been married as differentiated from "single" which means never has been married. See also "single." 

11. Update
A report showing all changes affecting a property since the date of the original report.

1. Vacant Land
Land without buildings. May or may not have improvements such as grading, sewers, etc.

2. Vendee
Purchaser or buyer, especially on a land contract.

3. Vendor
The person who transfer property by sale. Another word for "seller". Commonly used in land contract sales.

4. Vest
To give an immediate interest as opposed to a contingent or future interest.

5. Vestee
The present record owner of property.

6. Veteran’s Administration Loans – V.A. Loan
Housing loans to vete4rans by banks, savings and loans or other lenders which are insured by the Veteran’s Administration enabling veterans to buy a residence with little or no down payment.

7. Voluntary Lien
A lien place against real property by the voluntary act of the owner. Most commonly a Mortgage or Deed of Trust.

1. Warranty Deed
A Deed used in many states to convey fee title to real property. Until the widespread use of title insurance the warranties by the grantor were very important to the grantee. When title insurance is purchased the warranties become less important as a practical means of recovery by the grantee for defective title.

2. W.A.T.A.
"Who acquired title as".

3. Will
A written document property witnessed, providing for the distribution of property owned by the deceased.

4. Wrap-Around Mortgage or Deed of Trust

5. Writ of Execution
A writ to carry out the judgment or decree of a court.

1. Zoning
The division of a city or county by legislative regulations into areas (zones) specifying the uses allowable for the real property in these areas.

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