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Glossary of Terms


- A -

  • Abandonment - The surrender, relinquishment, disclaimer, or cession of property or of rights to property.
  • Abatement - To put an end to.
  • Abstract of Judgment - A brief transcript of the essentials of a judgment.
  • Abstract of Title - A condensed history or summary of all transactions affecting a particular tract of land.
  • Access - The right to enter and leave a tract of land from a public way. Can include the right to enter and leave over the lands of another.
  • Access Right - A landowner's right to have ingress to and egress from the property to a public street.
  • Accrual - The growing or adding to.
  • Acknowledgment - The act by which a party executing a legal document goes before an authorized officer or notary public and declares the same to be his or her voluntary act and deed.
  • Acre - A tract of land 208.71 feet square and containing 43,560 square feet of land.
  • Ad Valorem - According to value.
  • Administrator - A person appointed by a probate court to settle the affairs of an individual dying without a will. The term is "administratrix" if such a person is a woman.
  • Adverse Possession - Claim of ownership of property based upon open and hostile possession and occupancy.
  • Affidavit - A sworn statement in writing.
  • Agent - A person or company that has the power to act on behalf of another or to transact business foR another, e.g., a title agent under contract with Old Republic Title to issue policies of title insurance.
  • ALTA - American Land Title Association, a national association of title insurance companies, abstractors and attorneys specializing in real property law. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.
  • Amortization - Payment of principal and interest at stated periods for a stated time until debt is extinguished.
  • Appurtenance - Anything so annexed to land or used with it that it will pass with the conveyance of the land.
  • ARM - Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
  • Assessed Value - Value of property for taxation purposes.
  • Assessment - The imposition of a tax, charge or levy, usually according to established rates.
  • Assessor - A public official who evaluates property for the purpose of taxation.
  • Assignee - One to whom property is assigned.
  • Assignor - One who transfers property by assignment.
  • Assumable Mortgage - A mortgage which, by its terms, allows a new owner to take over its obligations.
  • Attachment -Legal seizure of property to force payment of a debt.
  • Attorney in Fact - One who holds a power of attorney from another allowing him or her to execute legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, etc., on behalf of the grantor of the power.

- B -

  • Balloon Mortgage - A mortgage that is amortized over a specific period of years, but requires a lump sum payment in full at an earlier date.
  • Balloon Payment - Final installment payment of a promissory note larger than any single preceding installment payment.
  • Bankruptcy - A federal court proceeding in which debtors are relieved of liability for their debts after surrender of their assets to a court appointed trustee.
  • Beneficiary - One for whose benefit a trust is created. A lender secured by a deed of trust.
  • Bequeath - To give personal property by will.
  • Binder - Written agreement to issue, within a specified time, a policy of title insurance. Contract to insure.
  • Bona Fide - In good faith.
  • Bona Fide Purchaser - A purchaser in good faith, for fair value and without notice of any adverse claim or right of third parties.
  • Building Contract - Agreement for the construction of a proposed structure.
  • Building Lines - Lines established by ordinance or by statute beyond which building is not permitted.

- C -

  • Certificate of Sale - Evidence of a purchaser's acquisition of legal title at a judicial sale, subject to redemption rights, if any.
  • Certificate of Title - Certified statement as to land ownership based upon examination of record title.
  • Chain of Title - A chronological list of documents comprising the record history of title to a specific parcel of real property.
  • Class Action - A lawsuit in which plaintiff represents himself or herself and all other persons similarly situated.
  • Clear Title - One which is not encumbered or burdened with defects.
  • Closing - Also known as "escrow" or "settlement." The process of executing legally binding documents, such as deeds and mortgages most commonly associated with the purchase of real estate and the borrowing of money to assist in the purchase .
  • Clouded Title - An encumbered title.
  • Co-Executor - One of two or more executors.
  • Co-Insurance - Insurance issued by two or more insurers.
  • Collateral - Property pledged as security for a debt; also, indirect, when referenced to blood relationship as in 'collateral heirs'.
  • Collateral Assignment - Transfer of an interest in personal property for security purposes. A collateral assignment is distinguished from an absolute assignment mainly because once the debt is paid that was secured by the collateral assignment, the assignment is extinguished.
  • Commitment to Insure - A report issued by a title insurance company, or its agent, committing the title insurance company to issue the form of policy designated in the commitment upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment.
  • Common Interest Community (CIC) - Ownership characterized by mutual ownership of common areas, either jointly or through membership in an association, e.g., condominiums, planned unit developments, and townhomes.
  • Community Property - Property acquired by a husband and wife, or either, during marriage, when not acquired as the separate property of either Condemnation - Taking private property for public use through court proceedings.
  • Condition or Conditions - A proviso in a deed or will that, upon the happening or failure to happen of a certain event, limits, enlarges, changes or terminates the title of the purchaser or devisee.
  • Conditions and Restrictions - A common term used to designate conditions and restrictions on the use of land. Includes penalties for failure to comply. Commonly used by land subdividers on newly platted areas.
  • Condominium - A system of individual fee ownership of units in a multi-unit structure, combined with joint ownership of common areas of the structure and land.
  • Consideration - The value inducing another person to enter into a contract.
  • Contiguous - In actual close contact; touching, adjacent, near.
  • Contingent - Dependent upon an uncertain future event.
  • Contingent Beneficiary - A person who may share in an estate or trust depending upon the happening of an event.
  • Contingent Interest - An interest which may vest depending upon the happening of an event.
  • Contract - An agreement to sell and purchase under which title is held as security by the seller until such time as the required payments to the seller have been completed.
  • Convey - The act of deeding or transferring title to another.
  • Conveyance - An instrument by which title is transferred; a deed. Also, the act of transferring title.
  • Corporation - An artificial being created by law and endowed with certain rights, privileges, and duties of natural persons.
  • Corporation Sole - A corporation consisting of a single person and his/her successor in office.
  • Covenant - An agreement written into deeds and other instruments promising performance or non-performance of certain acts, or stipulating certain uses or non-uses of the property.

- D -

  • Date Down - The date a title examination is to be brought down to from the date of the last examination. Generally the date of recording of instruments and documents in the Recorder's Office.
  • Declaration of Homestead - A formal, written, recorded assertion by an owner that the dwelling in which he or she resides is exempt from forced sale.
  • Declaration of Trust - A written instrument by a person (settlor-trustor), acknowledging that he or she holds title to property (as trustee) for the benefit of another or others (beneficiary/ beneficiaries).
  • Decree - A judgment by court.
  • Decree of Distribution - A judgment of probate court as to persons entitled to the property of a decedent. [Now referred to as 'Order for Distribution']
  • Deed - A written document by which the ownership of land is transferred from one person to another.
  • Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure - The deed purchased by the mortgagee from the mortgagor in lieu of the foreclosure of the mortgagee's mortgage. The mortgagor grants the title to the property secured by the mortgage to the mortgagee (lender) in lieu of lender foreclosing the mort Default - Omission or failure to fulfill a duty, observe a promise, discharge an obligation, or perform an agreement.
  • Deed of Trust - A three party security instrument conveying title to land as security for the performance of an obligation. Also called "trust deed."
  • Default Judgment - A judgment against a defendant who made no appearance in court.
  • Deficiency Judgment - A personal judgment against the debtor for the amount remaining due after foreclosure of a security device, as in the case of a mortgage or trust deed.
  • 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.
  • Description - Written instrument by which title to land is transferred to a trustee as security for repayment of a debt or performance of an obligation.
  • Devise - The disposition of real property by will.
  • Domicile - Fixed and permanent home.
  • Donee - Person to whom gift is made.
  • Donor - Person who makes a gift.
  • Due on Sale Clause - Provision in a security instrument calling for automatic maturity in the event of sale or transfer of title by borrower.

- E -

  • Earnest Money - Advance payment of part of the purchase price to bind a contract for property.
  • Easement - An interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use, such as laying a sewer, putting up electric power lines, or crossing the property.
  • Egress - The right to leave a tract of land. Often used interchangeably with "access."
  • Eminent Domain - The power of the state to take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation.
  • Encroachment - A trespass or intrusion onto another's property, usually by a structure, wall or fence.
  • Encumber - To burden a parcel of land with a lien or charge, e.g., a mortgage.
  • Encumbrance - A lien, liability or charge upon a parcel of land.
  • Endorsement - The act of signing a name on the back of a check or promissory note to evidence its transfer; also, a written document attached to an insurance policy expanding or limiting coverage.
  • Escheat - A reversion of property to the state in those cases where an individual dies without heirs or devisees, and, in some states, without a will.
  • Escrow - A transaction in which an impartial third party acts upon instructions for both seller and buyer, or for both borrower and lender, in carrying out instructions, delivering papers and documents and, disbursing funds.
  • Estate - A person's possessions. The extent of a person's interest in real property.
  • Examination of Title - The process of determining the vesting of title, and encumbrances burdening land.
  • Exception - In legal descriptions, that portion of land to be deleted or excluded. The term often is used in a different sense to mean an objection to title or encumbrance on title.
  • Executor - A person appointed by the probate court to carry out the terms of a will. The term is "executrix" if that person is a woman.
  • Extended Mortgage - One in which the due date of a mortgage is extended for a longer period, often at a higher interest rate than the original mortgage.

- F –

  • Fannie Mae - Federal National Mortgage Association (also FNMA) is a private corporation, federally chart e re d to provide financial products and services that increase the availability and affordability of housing by purchasing mortgage loans.
  • Fee - An estate of inheritance in real property.
  • Fee Simple Estate - The greatest interest in a parcel of land that it is possible to own. Sometimes designated simply as "Fee."
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Guarantee - An insurance contract in which HUD through FHA insures that the named lender will recover a specific percentage of the loan amount from the insurer (FHA) in the event that the loan goes bad.
  • Fiduciary - One who holds a position of trust and confidence requiring scrupulous good faith and candor. For example, a trustee of a trust is a fiduciary.
  • Financing Statement - A document filed with the Register of Deeds or Secretary of State securing the title to personal property.
  • Fixtures - Any item of property so attached to real property that it becomes a part of the real property.
  • Flood Certification - A common term for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF). This determines whether land or a building is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area for purposes of flood insurance requirements under the National Flood Insurance Pro g r a m .
  • Foreclosure - Enforcement of a lien by sale of property given as security.
  • Foreclosure Sale - The sale of property given as security to secure performance of an obligation.
  • Forfeiture - The loss of a right, title, or interest in property as consequence of a default under an obligation.
  • Freddie Mac - Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (also FHLMC) is a stockholder owned corporation chartered by Congress that purchases mortgage loans.

- G –

  • Garnishment - Attachment of personal property of a debtor in the possession of a third person.
  • General Plan Restrictions - Restrictions on use of real property imposed for the benefit of all lots within a subdivision.
  • Gift - A voluntary conveyance or transfer of property without a valuable consideration.
  • Ginnie Mae - Government National Mortgage Association (also GNMA) is a wholly-owned United States corporation that guarantees privately issued securities backed by pools of mortgages insured by FHA (Federal Housing Administration), FMHA (Farm e r s Home Administration) or VA (Veterans Administration).
  • Graduated Lease - A lease providing for varying rental rates.
  • Grant - A transfer of real property by deed.
  • Grant Deed - A written instrument transferring title to real property.
  • Grantee - A person who acquires an interest in land by deed, grant, or other written instrument.
  • Grantor - A person, who, by a written instrument, transfers to another an interest in land.
  • Ground Lease - A lease of land only and not of improvements to be made by lessee.
  • Guarantee of Title - A form of title insurance based solely upon public record disclosures.
  • Guardian - A person appointed by the probate court to care for the person, the property, or the person and property of a minor or an incompetent person.

- H -

  • Heir - One who might inherit or succeed to an interest in land of an individual who dies without leaving a will (intestate).
  • Home Repair Loan - Used for repairs and additions to existing structures without affecting existing mort g a g e . Typically 10 years or less in length.
  • Homestead - The dwelling in which an owner or head of a family resides protected to a limited extent from forced sale by a recorded declaration of homestead.
  • HUD 1 - A form settlement (closing) statement required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where federally related mortgages are being made on residential properties. It is a balance sheet showing the source of funds and the distribution of funds in connection with the purchase and/or mortgaging of residential property.

- I –

  • Improved Real Estate - Land upon which buildings have been erected.
  • Indemnify - To make payment for a loss.
  • Indemnity Agreement - An agreement relieving a person of an obligation to compensate for a potential loss. A hold harmless agreement.
  • Ingress - The right to enter a tract of land. Often used interchangeably with "access."
  • Inheritance Tax - A tax imposed upon the privilege of succeeding to the title of a decedent.
  • Instrument - A formal, legal, written document.
  • Insurable Interest - A sufficient interest in property that loss of it or damage to it would entail financial loss to the owner.
  • Insurance - A contract of indemnity against specified perils.
  • Interest - A share of, or a right to, or a concern in something of Value; also, a premium paid for the use of money.
  • Interim Financing - Temporary or short term loans. Often used with new construction. Usually replaced with a permanent long-term mortgage.
  • Interim Loan - A short term loan under circumstances anticipating a subsequent long term loan.
  • Intestate - Designates the estate or condition of failing to leave a will at death. "To die intestate."
  • Involuntary Lien - A lien created by operation of law.

- J –

  • Joint Tenancy - An estate where two or more persons hold real estate jointly for life, where each owns an undivided interest in the property, and commonly includes a right of survivorship whereby following the death of one or more joint title owners, title vests in any surviving joint tenants.
  • Joint Venture - A form of business organization composed of two or more persons to conduct a single enterprise for profit.
  • Judgment - A final determination in a court of competent jurisdiction of the rights of the parties to an action or proceeding.
  • Judgment Lien - A statutory lien created by recording a judgment, or an abstract, ordering the payment of a sum of money.
  • Jurisdiction - The power to adjudicate concerning the subject matter in a given case.

- K –

  • There are no items in this category.

- L -

  • Landowner's Royalty - An interest in unsevered oil and gas granted to a third person or reserved by a landowner on occasion of his/her alienation of an interest in real property.
  • Land Contract - An agreement entered into for the sale and purchase of land.
  • Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments - Inheritable lands or interests in them.
  • Lease - A grant of the use of lands for a term of years in consideration of the payment of a monthly or annual rental.
  • Legal Description - A description of real property sufficient to locate it on the ground by reference to government surveys or approved recorded maps.
  • Lender's Policy - A form of title insurance policy which insures the validity, enforceability and priority of a lender's lien. This form does not provide protection for the owner.
  • Lessee - One who takes lands upon a lease.
  • Lessor - One who grants lands under a lease.
  • Letters of Administration - Formal written evidence of court appointment of a personal representative of the estate of an intestate decedent.
  • Letters of Conservatorship - Formal written evidence of court appointment of a conservator of the person, or of the estate, or of the person and estate of a conservatee.
  • Letters of Guardianship - Formal written evidence of court appointment of a guardian for the person, estate, or person and estate of a minor or of an incompetent.
  • Letters of Testamentary - Formal written evidence of court appointment of a personal representative of the estate of a testate decedent.
  • Lien - A hold, claim, or charge allowed a creditor upon the lands of a debtor. Some examples are mortgage liens, judgment liens, mechanics' liens.
  • Life Beneficiary - A person entitled to receive a benefit for life.
  • Life Estate - A grant or reservation of the right of use, occupancy and ownership for the life of an individual.
  • Limitations, Statutes of - Statutes limiting the time within which parties having a cause of action must institute proceedings to enforce the same.
  • Lis Pendens - A notice recorded in the official records of a county to indicate that a suit is pending affecting the lands where the notice is recorded.
  • Living Trust - A trust becoming operative in the lifetime of the person creating it.
  • Loss Payable Clause - Provision added to a Fire and Casualty Policy which says any loss will be paid to two or more parties as their interest may appear. Usually the owner and the mortgage lender.
  • Lot - A part of a subdivision or block having fixed boundaries ascertainable by reference to a plat or survey.

- M –

  • Mechanic's Lien - A lien allowed by statute to contractors, laborers and material suppliers on buildings or other structures upon which work has been performed or materials supplied.
  • Merger of Title - The absorption of a lesser estate into a larger estate.
  • Metes and Bounds - A description of land by courses and distances.
  • Minor - One who because of insufficient age or status is legally incapable of making contracts.
  • Mortgage - A two party security instrument pledging land as security for the performance of an obligation.
  • Mortgagee - The party entitled to performance by a mortgagor.
  • Mortgagor - The party executing a mortgage.
  • Mortgage Banker - A specialized lending institution that lends money solely with respect to real estate and secures its loans with mortgages on the real estate.
  • Mortgage Broker - A person or company that buys and sells mortgages for another on commission or who arranges for and negotiates mortgage contracts.
  • Mortgage Revenue Bonds - Issued by communities as a means of providing lower cost mortgage funds to certain qualified borrowers.
  • Mortgagee - The mortgage lender.

- N -

  • Notary - One authorized to take acknowledgments.
  • Notarize - To prove execution of a document by means of a notary public's certificate of acknowledgment.
  • Notary Public - A person authorized by law to take acknowledgments and to administer oaths.
  • Note - A common reference to a promissory note.
  • Note of Action - A lis pendens.
  • Notice of Cessation - A recorded notice shortening the time for filing mechanics' liens if work ceases prior to completion.
  • Notice of Completion - A notice recorded within ten days of completion of a work of improvement signaling commencement of the time period within which claims of mechanics' liens must be recorded.
  • Notice of Default - A recorded notice of a trustor's failure to perform his/her obligation under a deed of trust. The beginning step in nonjudicial foreclosure of a deed of trust.

- O -

  • Open-End Mortgage - Provision in a mortgage (or deed of trust) by which additional advances of money made by lender to borrower after execution of the security instrument are also secured by it.
  • Option - A choice; a right, for a consideration, to do or not to do an act in the future, or to require or not require performance of a future act by another.
  • Ordinance - A legislative enactment of a city or county.
  • Owner's Policy - A policy of title insurance insuring the title of an owner. Ownership - The right to possess and use property to the exclusion of others.

- P -

  • Parcel - Any area of land contained within a single description..
  • Partial Release Clause - Provision in a land contract, deed of trust or mortgage for a conveyance of a portion of the property to buyer upon satisfaction of specified conditions.
  • Partition Action - Judicial proceedings instituted by a co-owner or co-owners to sever their co-ownership either by a physical division into separate parcels or by sale of entire parcel and division of proceeds.
  • Partnership - An association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners a business for profit.
  • Per Capita - By the head; by the number of individuals.
  • Personal Property - Movable property; property which is not real property.
  • Personal Representative - A person appointed by the probate court to administer a decedent's estate.
  • Plat or Plot - A map representing a piece of land subdivided into lots with streets shown there on.
  • P.M.I. - Private Mortgage Insurance. An insurance contract which insures that the named lender will recover a specific percentage of the loan amount from the insurer in the event the loan goes bad. Many lenders require this on higher percentage loans.
  • Points - A one-time special fee or extra charge paid to a lender in order to secure a loan. Expressed as a percentage of face amount of mortgage.
  • Policy - A written contract of title insurance.
  • Policy Owner - The insured on a title insurance policy.
  • Power of Attorney - An instrument authorizing another to act on one's behalf as his or her agent or attorney.
  • Preemption - The act of purchasing before or ahead of another person.
  • Preemption Entry - An entry upon public lands of the United States by a settler giving the settler a preferred right to acquire title.
  • Preemptive Right - A preferential right to purchase on same terms as offered by a third party.
  • Pre-Payment Clause - Provision permitting payment of a debt prior to due date.
  • Pre-Payment Penalty - Charge imposed by a lender for payment of a debt before due date.
  • Principal - A party represented by an agent or the chief or foremost party in a particular transaction or the amount of a loan to be repaid exclusive of interest or the assets constituting a trust estate.
  • Probate - Relating to proof; the proof of validity of a will of a decedent; the proof of ownership.
  • Probate Court - A division of superior court having jurisdiction over estates of decedents, minors, incompetents, and conservatees.
  • Promissory Note - An unconditional written promise, signed by maker, to pay, absolutely, a sum certain in money, either to the bearer or to a person therein designated or his/her order.
  • Pro-Rata - Proportionately; according to a certain rate, percentage, or proportion.
  • Prorate - To allocate between seller and buyer their proportionate share of an obligation paid or due. For example, a proration of real property taxes or fire insurance premiums.

- Q -

  • Quitclaim Deed - A form of deed containing no warranties and conveying the current right, title and interest of the grantor, if any, to real property.
  • Quiet Title - An action in a proper Court to remove record defects or possible claims of other parties named in the action.

- R -

  • Real Property - Immovable property such as land, buildings, improvements, appurtenances, and air space.
  • Realtor® -A federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® a n d subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
  • Reconveyance - A document extinguishing the lien of a deed of trust and reconveying the title to the real property encumbered by the deed of trust to the trustor.
  • Record - To incorporate into the public records of the County Recorder; also, the system of public records imparting constructive notice of title to claims, or interests, in real property.
  • Recording - The act of filing documents for record in the office of the County Recorder.
  • Redeem - Literally "to buy back." The act of buying back lands after a mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, or other execution sale.
  • Redemption - The act of buying back property previously sold in judicial proceedings.
  • Redemption Right - The right of a debtor to reacquire title to property formerly owned by him or her but sold through judicial process to satisfy his/her debts.
  • Reinstatement - Restoring to the status occupied before a forfeiture.
  • Reinsurance - To insure again by transferring to another insurance company all or part of an assumed liability, thus spreading the loss risk any one company has to carry.
  • REIT - Real Estate Investment Trust. A product of federal tax legislation formed as a business trust, under a special state REIT statute or as a corporation for the purpose of investing in real estate or mortgages on real estate.
  • Release - A document extinguishing the lien of a mortgage, judgment, mechanic's lien, etc.; also, a document absolving another of liability.
  • Release Clause - Provision in a mortgage or deed of trust for the release of the lien from portions of the property.
  • Request for Notice - Recorded request by anyone desiring written notice of the recording of a notice of default under a deed of trust or of the scheduling of a trustee's sale thereunder; also, recorded trust request of anyone desiring notice of the scheduling of an execution sale foreclosing the lien of a judgment; also, a request filed in probate proceedings by anyone desiring special notice of proceedings taken therein.
  • Request for Reconveyance - Written instruction of a beneficiary under a deed of trust addressed to the trustee, acknowledging satisfaction of the secured obligation, and directing the trustee to extinguish the lien of the deed of trust and reconvey the property encumbered by the deed of trust.
  • Reservation - A right or an interest retained by a grantor in a conveyance.
  • Restrictions - Impediments, limitations, or prohibitions respecting use of real property imposed in deeds or in a declaration
  • Reverse or Reverse Annuity Mortgage - A mortgage for which the borrower pledges home equity in return for regular (monthly) payments, rather than a lump sum distribution of loan proceeds. Repayment is usually not required until the home is sold or the borrower's estate is settled, provided the borrower continues to live in the home and keeps current all taxes and insurance.
  • Reversion - A presently vested future estate in the grantor or grantor's heirs the possession of which is deferred.
  • Rider - A supplement to; an addition to; an endorsement to a document.
  • Right of Survivorship - The right to succeed to the interest of a decedent.
  • Right-of-Way - The right which one has to pass across the lands of another. An easement.
  • Riparian - Rights to use of water and waterways in adjoining lakes or rivers.

- S -

  • Sale and Leaseback - A transaction in which a grantee in a deed leases the same property back to the grantor without a change in its possession.
  • Sales Contract - An agreement entered into for the sale and purchase of property.
  • Second Mortgage - A second loan on real estate that a l ready has a mortgage. It is subordinate to the first mortgage. Usually of shorter term and often at a higher interest rate.
  • Section - A measure of land one square mile containing 640 acres.
  • Security - Collateral; property pledged or hypothecated to secure performance of an obligation.
  • Security Deposit - Deposit of money made to assure performance of an obligation.
  • Servitude - A right in another's property in the nature of an easement.
  • Set Back Lines - Those lines which delineate the required distances for the location of structures in relation to the perimeter of the property.
  • Sheriff's Deed - Conveyance of title to a debtor's property as a consequence of an execution sale.
  • Special Assessments - Charges imposed upon real property especially benefited by a local public improvement.
  • Specific Performance Action - A form of action seeking the execution of documentation relating to real property.
  • Statute of Limitations - A series of statutes designed to render unenforceable stale claims and rights.
  • Subdivision - The division of a tract of land into separate parcels.
  • Subject To - The recognition of an existing lien or encumbrance but not assuming personal liability therefor.
  • Sublease - A lease executed by a tenant for a term less than the leasehold.
  • Subordinate - To make inferior in priority.
  • Subordination Agreement - An agreement changing the priority of interests.
  • Sub-surface Right - The right of ownership to things lying beneath the physical surface of the property.
  • Survey - The process of measuring land to determine its size, location and physical description and the resulting drawing or map.

- T -

  • Tax Deed - A deed issued to a purchaser following a sale necessitated by the non-payment of real property taxes.
  • Tax Sale - Sale conducted for the purpose of collecting delinquent taxes assessed to a parcel of real property.
  • Tax Search - An examination of the public records of taxing authorities to determine the tax status of a parcel of real property.
  • Tenancy by the Entirety - Ownership by married persons where each owns the entire estate, with the survivor taking the whole upon the other's death.
  • Tenancy in Common - An estate or interest in land held by two or more persons, each having equal rights of possession and enjoyment, but without any right of succession by survivorship between the owners.
  • Tenant - Any person occupying real property with the owner's permission.
  • Term - The time duration of a lease or of a loan also, any provision of a contract or lease.
  • Testament - Another term for a will. Commonly referred to as "last will and testament."
  • Testamentary Trust - A trust created by the last will and testament of a decedent.
  • Testator - One who died leaving a will.
  • Title - The evidence of right which a person has to the ownership and possession of land. Commonly considered as a history of rights.
  • Title Defect - Any legal right held by others to claim property or to make demands upon the owner.
  • Title Insurance - Insurance against loss or damage resulting from defects or failure of title to a particular parcel of real property.
  • Title Plant - The total facilities - records, equipment, fixtures, and personnel - required to function as a title insurance operation. Technically, the organization of official records affecting real property into a system which allows quick and efficient recovery of title information.
  • Title Policy - A contract indemnifying against loss resulting from a defect in the title to the interest or lien in real property insured.
  • Title Search - An examination of public records, laws, and court decisions to disclose the current facts regarding ownership of real estate.
  • Township - A normally square shaped subdivision of public lands containing 36 sections uniformly numbered starting with the northeast sectionTract - A particular parcel of land.
  • Transfer Tax - A tax imposed upon transfers of title to real property.
  • Trust - A fiduciary relationship in which a trustee holds title to property for the benefit of a beneficiary.
  • Trust Deed - Same as a deed of trust; a three party security instrument conveying title to land as security for the performance of an obligation.
  • Trustee - The fiduciary holding title to property for the benefit of another.
  • Trustee's Deed - The deed given by the trustee under a deed of trust when the secured property is sold under power of sale.
  • Trustee's Sale - Foreclosure sale conducted by the trustee in the exercise of a power of sale.
  • Trustor - The person conveying property in trust.

- U -

  • Undivided Interests - Unsegregated interests of co-owners in the entire property owned by them as tenants in common.
  • Unities - The essential elements of a common law joint tenancy. i.e., unities of time, title, interest, and possession.
  • Unjust Enrichment - Mistake or misfortune of one person unfairly benefiting another.
  • Unlawful Detainer - An action brought for recovery of possession of real property.

- V -

  • Valid - Sufficient in law; effective.
  • Vendee - A buyer or purchaser.
  • Vendor - A seller.
  • Venue - The county in which an action is brought; also the place where an acknowledgment is taken.
  • Verification - A sworn statement before a qualified officer (notary public) that the contents of a writing are true.
  • Vest - To give an immediate fixed right to property.
  • Vestee - Present record owner.
  • Vested Interest - A property interest that is fixed or determined.

- W -

  • Waive - To release or abandon a right or a privilege.
  • Waiver - The act of releasing or abandoning a right or a privilege.
  • Warranty - A promise by the grantor of real property that he or she is the owner and will be responsible to the buyer if title is other than as represented.
  • Warranty Deed - A deed containing express covenants as to good title and right to possession.
  • Water Right - The right of an owner of land to use water adjacent to or below the surface of the land.
  • Will -A written document providing for the distribution of property owned by a person after his or her death.
  • Wrap-Around Mortgage - Same as an "all inclusive mortgage": One incorporating the balance due under a prior mortgage.

- X -

  • There are no items in this category.

- Y -

  • There are no items in this category.

- Z -

  • Zone - Area in a community designated for specified use and purpose.
  • Zoning - Governmental regulation of the use of real property.

Fort Worth

4541 Bellaire Drive S.
Suite 101
Fort Worth, TX 76109

Ph: 817-377-4100
Fx: 817-377-4111

Office Hours

8:30 am - 5:00 pm


850 East State Hwy 114
Suite 200
Southlake, TX 76092

Ph: 817-442-1111
Fx: 817-442-9997

Office Hours

8:30 am - 5:00 pm


835 S.W. Alsbury
Suite H
Burleson, TX 76028

Ph: 817-882-6393
Fx: 817-882-6395

Office Hours

8:30 am - 5:00 pm


5177 E I20 Service Rd. N.
Suite 118
Willow Park, TX 76087

Ph: 817-441-8674
Fx: 817-441-8675

Office Hours

8:30 am - 5:00 pm


110 Park Place Ct.
Suite 102
Waxahachie, TX 75165

Ph: 972-920-6770
Fx: 972-920-3770

Office Hours

8:30 am - 5:00 pm