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.
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.
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).
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."
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.
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.
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.
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).
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."
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.
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.
A change either to correct an error or to alter a part of an agreement without changing the principle idea or essence.
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).
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
One who receives an assignment (pl. assigns).
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.
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.
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.
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.