Terms & Tools
Abstract (of title) – A summary of public records relating to the title to a particular parcel of land.
Acceleration Clause (in a mortgage) — A clause in your mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding loan balance for various reasons. The most common reasons for accelerating a loan are if the borrower defaults on the loan or transfers title to another individual without informing the lender.
Acknowledgement — 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.
Administrator — A person given authority by a proper court to manage and distribute the estate of a deceased person when there is no will.
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.
Affiant – One who swears to or affirms the statement in an affidavit.
Affidavit — A written statement or declaration, sworn to before an officer who has authority to administer an oath.
Affirmative Coverage – Provisions in policies by which the insurer affirmatively insurers against loss due to specific risks generally not covered by policies; for example, insurance against loss due to violation of usury or truth-in-lending statutes or restrictive covenants.
A.L.T.A.(American Land Title Association) — An organization, composed of title insurance companies, which has adopted certain insurance policy forms to standardize coverage on a national basis.
Amortization — Payment of debt in regular, periodic installments of principal and interest, as opposed to interest only payments.
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 the insurance policies.
Appurtenance – Property (as an outbuilding or fixture) or a property right (as a right-of-way) that is incidental to a principal property and that passes with the principal property upon sale or transfer.
Assessed Value — Value placed upon property for property tax purposes by the tax assessor.
Assessment — (1) The estimating of value of property for tax purposes. (2) A levy against property in addition to general taxes. Usually for improvements such as streets, sewers, etc.
Assignment — When ownership of your mortgage is transferred from one company or individual to another, it is called an assignment.
Assumption of Mortgage – An agreement under which the buyer of a property takes over the seller’s liability for payment of an existing mortgage on the property. The seller remains liable to the mortgage lender unless the lender agrees to release him in writing.
Attorney in Fact – Agent who holds the power of attorney allowing him or her to transact business and execute legal documents on behalf of a principal. Decisions made and actions taken by an attorney in fact (within the scope of his or her authority) are legally binding on the principal. An attorney-in-fact need not be an attorney-at-law.
Back Title Letter – Back title letter is a letter given by the title insurance company to an attorney of the seller or the buyer, advising of condition of title as of a certain date. Attorney researches the title from the date specified in the letter.
Balloon Payment — The final lump sum payment that is due at the termination of a balloon mortgage.
Beneficiary — (1) One for whose benefit trust is created. (2) In states in which deeds of trust are commonly used instead of mortgages, the lender (mortgagee) is called the beneficiary.
Binder or Commitment— A report issued by a title insurance company setting forth the condition of title to certain property as of certain date, and also setting forth conditions which, if satisfied, will cause a policy of title insurance to be issued. Also called a commitment. A policy of title insurance (used primarily by investors) calling for a reduced rated for a future policy if the property is sold within a specified period.
Bond for Title – A method of selling and financing real estate; also called a land sale contract or a contract for sale. The owner signs a contract agreeing to transfer the property to the buyer after the buyer makes all required regular payments over a certain period of time. Unlike a mortgage, the seller avoids many problems associated with foreclosure and possibly bankruptcy if there is a default. The practice is looked upon with disfavor by courts, which typically try to find ways to convert the relationship in some sort of equitable mortgage, and thus grant the consumer protections afforded by the law.
Building (Restriction) Line or Setback – A building setback or building setback line on a survey, site plan or plat in regards to land development is the distance the building is setback from a street, alley, property line or road. Building setbacks are set up by land developers and local Planning and Zoning Offices and are different for every subdivision.
Certificate of Title — In areas where attorneys examine abstracts or chains of title, a written opinion, executed by the examining attorney, stating that the title is vested as stated in the abstract.
Chain of Title — An analysis of the transfers of title to a piece of property over the years.
Chains and Links — Measurements. In real estate measurements (surveying) a chain is 66″ long or 100 links, each link being 7.92″. The measurement may change when used in fields other than surveying.
Closing — This has different meanings in different states. In some states a real estate transaction is not consider “closed” until the documents record at the local recorders office. In others, the “closing” is a meeting where all of the documents are signed and money changes hands.
Closing Costs — Expenses incidental to the sale of real estate, such as loan fees, title fees, appraisal fees, etc.
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.
Coinsurance – A type of insurance in which the insured pays a share of the payment made against a claim.
Collateral — In a home loan, the property is the collateral. The borrower risks losing the property if the loan is not repaid according to the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust.
Commitment — (1) Title insurance term for the preliminary report issued before the actual policy. Said report shows the condition of title and the steps necessary to complete the transfer of title as contemplated by buyer and seller. (2) A written promise to make or insure a loan for a specified amount and on specified terms.
Community Property — Property owned in common by a husband and wife, which was not required as a separate property. A classification of property peculiar to certain states.
Condemnation – The exercise of the power of eminent domain by which property is taken for public use upon payment of just compensation. Condemnation can also refer to the condemning of unsafe structures.
Condominium — A structure of two or more units, the interior space of which are individually owned; 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, floors, and ceiling. The balance of property is called the common area.
Condominium Declaration – A Condominium Declaration, also sometimes known as Master Deed, is a fundamental document that establishes the existence of and further governs the use and maintenance of a condominium property. It is regulated by the Condominium Act and it includes legal descriptions of the condominium and of each individual unit, the nature and scope of the development project (when applicable), and several provisions regarding the use of the condominium units and common areas.
Construction Disbursement Service – A direct payment plan for disbursement of construction loan and equity funds through the title company as an independent escrow agent to subcontractors and suppliers upon approval of the owner, general contractor, and lender.
Construction Loan — Short term financing of real estate construction. Generally followed by a long term financing called a “take out”, issued upon completion of improvements.
Contract of Sale – A Real Estate Sale Contract functions as a legally binding agreement between two parties concerning the terms of purchase or transfer of real property.
Conventional Loan — A mortgage or deed of trust not obtained under a government-insured program, (such as F.H.A. or V.A.).
Conveyance — Transfer of title to land. Includes most instruments by which an interest in real estate is created, mortgaged, or assigned.
Cooperative (co-op) — A type of multiple ownership in which the residents of a multiunit housing complex own shares in the cooperative corporation that owns the property, giving each resident the right to occupy a specific apartment or unit.
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 entities.
Covenant – An agreement between the parties in a deed whereby one party promises either (1) the performance or non-performance of certain acts with respect to the land or (2) that a given state of things with respect to the land are so; e.g., covenant that the land will be used for residential purposes.
Curtsey – A husband’s life estate in the property of the deceased wife. By statue in most states, it is a life estate in one third of the land she owned during their marriage.
Dedication – The granting of land by the owner for some public use and in acceptance for such use by authorized public officials.
Deed — Actually, any one of many conveyance or financing instruments, but generally a conveyance instrument, given to pass fee title to property upon sale.
Deed of Trust — An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage. Property is transferred to a trustee by a borrower (trustor), in favor of the lender (beneficiary), and reconveyed upon payment in full.
Deficiency Judgment – A judgment made by a court against a debtor indicating that the sale on a foreclosed piece of property did not cover the outstanding mortgage in full. It is a lien placed on the debtor for further money.
Devise – A gift of land by will or to give land by will. A devise is the person to whom property is given by a will.
Discount Points — In the mortgage industry; this term is usually used in only in reference to government loans, meaning FHA and VA loans. Discount points refer to any “points” paid in addition to the one percent loan origination fee. A “point” is one percent of the loan amount.
Dower – The part of or interest in the real estate of a deceased husband given by law to his widow during her life.
Draw –Disbursement of a portion of the mortgage loan. Usually applies to construction loans when partial advances are made as improvements to the property progress.
Easement — A right created by grant, reservation, agreement, prescription, or necessary implication, which one has in the land of another. It is either for the benefit of land (appurtenant), such as the right to cross parcel A to get to B, or “in gross”, such as public utility easement.
Eminent Domain — The right of a government to take private property for public use upon payment of its fair market value. Eminent domain is the basis for condemnation proceedings.
Encroachment — Generally, construction onto the property of another, as of a wall, fence, building, etc.
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.
Endorsement – As to a title insurance policy, a rider or attachment forming a part of the insurance policy expanding or limiting coverage. Endorsement also refers to the act of signing a name of the back of a check or promissory note to evidence its transfer.
Equity — (1) A legal doctrine based on fairness, rather than strict interpretation of the letter of the law. (2) The market value of real property, less the amount of existing liens. (3) Any ownership investment (stocks, real estate, etc.) as opposed to investing as a lender (bonds, mortgages, etc.)
Equity Participation – A type of mortgage transaction in which the lender, in addition to receiving a fixed rate of interest of the loan, acquires an interest in the borrower’s land and shares in the profits derived from the land.
Escheat — A reversion of property to the state in the absence of an individual owner. Usually occurs when a property owner dies interstate, and without heirs.
Escrow — Delivery of a deed by a grantor to a third party for delivery to the grantee upon the happening of a contingent event. Contemporarily, in some states, all instruments necessary to the sale (including funds) are delivered to a third (neutral) party, with instructions as to their use.
Estate — The ownership interest of an individual in real property. The sum total of all the real property and personal property owned by an individual at time of death.
Et ux – And wife.
Examination of Title — The report on the title of a property from the public records or an abstract of the title.
Exception – An interest in real property which is excluded from the conveyance and remains in the grantor or which had been excluded in a prior conveyance.
Exclusion – Those general matters affecting title to real property excluded from coverage of a title insurance policy.
Executor — A person named in a will to administer an estate. The court will appoint an administrator if no executor is named. “Executrix” is the feminine form.
Fannie Mae (FNMA) — The Federal National Mortgage Association, which is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company that is the nation’s largest supplier of home mortgage funds.
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.
F.H.A.(Federal Housing Administration) — A federal agency which insures first mortgages, enabling lenders to loan a very high percentage of the sale price.
FHLMC (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) – Government-chartered corporation which buys qualified mortgage loans from the financial institutions that originate them, securitizes the loans, and distributes the securities through the dealer community. The securities are not backed by the U.S. Government. The market value of these securities prior to maturity is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
Fixture — Personal property that becomes real property when attached in a permanent manner to real estate.
Foreclosure — The legal process by which a borrower in default under a mortgage is deprived of his or her interest in the mortgaged property. This usually involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the mortgage debt.
General Warranty Deed – A deed in which the grantor fully warrants good clear title to the premises. Used in most real estate deed transfers, a general warranty deed offers the greatest protection of any deed.
GNMA (Ginnie Mae) — Government National Mortgage Association. A federal association, working with FHA, which offers special assistance in obtaining mortgages and purchases mortgages in a secondary capacity.
Graduated Payment Mortgage – Home mortgage loan in which the repayment begins with a relatively small amount, begins to rise slowly and, after some years, levels off to a fixed amount. It is designed for the young professionals and entrepreneurs whose incomes do not qualify them for the normal mortgages, but who can realistically expect continually growing incomes in the near future.
Grantee — One to whom a grant is made, generally the buyer.
Grantor — One who grants property or property rights.
Guaranty Policy – A title insurance policy which insures only against defects of title appearing in the public records. Other policies insure against defects whether or not they appear in public records.
Heir – The person who, at the death of the owner of land, is entitled to the land if the owner has died without a will.
Homestead — The dwelling (house and contiguous land) of the head of a family. Some states grant statutory exemptions, protecting homestead property (usually to set a maximum amount) against the rights of creditors. Property tax exemptions (usually to set a maximum amount) are also available in some states. Statutory requirements to establish a homestead may include a formal declaration to be recorded.
HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development) – the United States federal department that administers federal programs dealing with better housing and urban renewal; created in 1965
Indemnity Agreement — An agreement by which one party agrees to repay another for any loss or damage the latter may suffer.
Insurable Title – A land title which a title company is willing to insure.
Insured Closing Service – A letter of protection for the lender from the title insurance agency against loss or damage should the agent misappropriate funds or fail to follow the closing instructions. This is a required document that must be obtained before proceeding with the closing of a real estate deal.
Interval Ownership – A form of time share ownership. See time share ownership.
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 the direction of the deceased.
Joint Protection Policy — A policy of title insurance which insures both the owners and the lender under the same policy.
Joint Tenancy — A form of ownership or taking title to property which means each party owns the whole property and that ownership is not separate. In the event of the death of one party, the survivor owns the property in its entirety.
Judgment — The decision of a court of law. Money judgments, when recorded, become a lien on real property of the defendant.
Junior Lien – A subordinate lien.
Leasehold Interest – Having possession of a property by virtue of a Lease.
Legal Description — A method of geographically identifying a parcel of land, which is acceptable in a court of law.
Lien — A legal claim against a property that must be paid off when the property is sold. A mortgage or first trust deed is considered a lien.
Lien Waiver or Waiver of Liens – A document from a contractor, subcontractor, supplier or other party holding a mechanic’s lien stating that they have been paid in full and waiving future lien rights to the disputed property. Generally, there are four types of lien waivers:
Life Estate – An estate measured by the life of a natural person.
Link – See Chain of Title.
Links – See Chains and Links.
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.
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 of priority of the mortgage or deed of trust.
Marketable Title — Title that can be readily marketed (sold) to a reasonably prudent purchaser aware of the facts and their legal meaning concerning liens and encumbrances.
Master Deed – See Condominium Declaration.
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.
Mechanics’Liens Survey Bond – A bond in which an approved survey company agrees to indemnify the ttle insurance company for any loss it may suffer due to the insurer’s issuing a specific policy without mechanics’ lien exception.
Metes and Bounds — Description of land by boundary lines, with their terminal points and angles. Originally metes referred to distance, bounds to direction; contemporarily, the words have no individual meaning of practical significance.
Mortgage — (1) To hypothecate as security, real property for the payment of a debt. The borrower (mortgagor) retains possession and use of the property. (2) The instrument by which real estate is hypothecated as security for repayment of a loan.
Mortgage Policy – See Loan Policy.
Mortgagee — The lender in a mortgage agreement.
Mortgagor — The borrower in a mortgage agreement.
Negative Amortization — Some adjustable rate mortgages allow the interest rate to fluctuate independently of a required minimum payment. If a borrower makes the minimum payment it may not cover all of the interest that would normally be due at the current interest rate. In essence, the borrower is deferring the interest payment, which is why this is called “deferred interest.” The deferred interest is added to the balance of the loan and the loan balance grows larger instead of smaller, which is called negative amortization.
Note — A legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a mortgage loan at a stated interest rate during a specified period of time.
Open-End Mortgage – An open-end mortgage is a type of mortgage that allows the borrower to increase the amount of the mortgage at a later time. Open-end mortgages permit the borrower to go back to the lender and borrow more money if certain conditions have been met. There is usually a set dollar limit on the additional amount that can be borrowed.
Option – The right, acquired for a consideration, to buy, sell, or lease land for a fixed price within a specified time.
Oversize Policies – Policies in which the amount (limit of risk) exceeds that which the agent is authorized to write without specific approval.
Owner’s Policy — Title insurance for the owner of the property, rather than a lien holder.
Partition – Division of land, usually by a legal proceeding, among the parties who were formerly co-owners.
Permanent Financing – A loan secured by land after improvements have been completed.
Planned (Unit) Development — A subdivision of five or more individually owned lots with one or more other parcels owned in common or with reciprocal rights in one or more other parcels. The lots are generally small, being the exact size of the improvements, or slightly larger.
Plat Map – A drawing giving the general physical lay-out of the land covered and included in the preliminary title report.
Power of Attorney — An authority by which one person (principal) enables another (attorney in fact) to act for him. (1) General power — Authorizes sale, mortgaging, etc. of all property of the principal. Invalid in some jurisdictions. (2) Special Power — Specifies property, buyers, price and terms. How specific it must be varies in each state.
Prepayment Penalty — A penalty under note, mortgage, or deed of trust, imposed when the loan is paid before it is due.
Prescriptive Easement — The granting of an easement by a court, based on the presumption that a written easement was given (though none existed), after a period of open and continuous use of land.
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.
Purchase Money Transaction — The acquisition of property through the payment of money or its equivalent.
Quiet Title – A legal action to establish title to real property usually used to obtain clear title on a property that is clouded by an issue of title.
Quitclaim 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.
Recording — The noting in the registrar’s office of the details of a properly executed legal document, such as a deed, a mortgage note, a satisfaction of mortgage, or an extension of mortgage, thereby making it a part of the public record.
Redemption – The right of the owner in some states to reclaim title to property if the owner pays the debt to the mortgagee within a stipulated time after foreclosure.
Reinsurance – Reinsurance, also known as insurance for insurers or stop-loss insurance, is the practice of insurers transferring portions of risk portfolios to other parties by some form of agreement to reduce the likelihood of having to pay a large obligation resulting from an insurance claim. The party that diversifies its insurance portfolio is known as the ceding party. The party that accepts a portion of the potential obligation in exchange for a share of the insurance premium is known as the reinsurer.
Reissue 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.
R.E.I.T.(Real Estate Investment Trusts) — A method of investing in real estate in a group, with certain tax advantages. Federal and state statutes dictate procedure.
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.
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.
Renegotiable Rate Mortgage – A loan secured by a long-term mortgage of up to 30 years, which provides for renegotiation at equal stated intervals of the interest rate for a maximum variation of 5 percent over the life of the mortgage.
Reserve – The portion of the title insurance company’s retained earnings set aside for some specific purpose.
Liability Reserve – A segregated or earmarked portion of retained earnings established to show the estimated amount of a known or potential future liability.
Reserve for Undetermined Title Losses – The liability reserve established and maintained against unpaid losses and expenses related to every specific claim presented to the title insurance company by a policy holder. The amount of reserve is established by careful estimates of probable liability. It is reviewed periodically and changed when warranted.
Statutory Reserve – The reserve requirement established by state statutes as the minimum which must be maintained by a title insurance company, either (1) by a company incorporated under the laws of their state or (2) as a qualification for a company incorporated in another state to do business in the state.
RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) — A federal statute effective June 20, 1975, requiring disclosure of certain costs in the sale of residential (one to four family) improved property which is to be financed by a federally insured lender.
Restriction — Most commonly used to describe a use or uses 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.
Reverse Annuity Mortgage – A mortgage given by a homeowner who desires to convert the equity in his or her house to an income-producing asset. The proceeds of the loan are paid out in periodic installments to the homeowner, thus giving the homeowner income until the proceeds paid out equal the face amount of the mortgage.
Reversion – Provision in conveyance which, upon the happening of an event or contingency, title to the land will return to the grantor or the successor in interest in the land.
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.
Riparian — Belonging or relating to the bank of a river or stream. Land within the natural watershed of a river or stream.
Sale-Leaseback – A technique in which a seller deeds property to a buyer for a consideration, and the buyer simultaneously leases the property back to the seller.
Separate Property – Property a husband and wife owns independent of the other.
Service Charge – A charge paid by the borrower to the lender for the lender’s expenses in processing the loan.
Setback – See Building Line.
Settlement Statement — A statement prepared by broker, escrow, or lender, giving a complete breakdown of costs involved in a real estate sale. A separate statement is prepared for the buyer and seller.
Shared Appreciation Mortgage – A special kind of mortgage that allows the purchaser to pay a given amount of the loan balance to the lender by passing along a portion of the gain in value of the property. In return for this additional compensation, the lender agrees to charge a rate of interest on the loan that is below the prevailing market rate. Shared-appreciation mortgages allow the lender to recoup the balance of the “interest” charged when the property is sold.
Simultaneous Issue — A simultaneous issuance of an owner’s policy and a mortgage policy, or an owner’s policy and a leasehold policy, or owner’s policy to different insured’s. A reduced premium rate is applicable in such cases.
Special Warranty Deed – A special warranty deed is a real estate deed by which the seller only warrants or guarantees the title against defects in clear title that may have arisen during the period of its tenure or ownership of the property. The grantor of a special warranty deed does not provide a warranty or guarantee against any defects in clear title that existed prior to its ownership. A special warranty deed is an exception to the more commonly issued general warranty deed.
Standard Coverage Policy — A title insurance policy used in several states, not having as broad coverage as the nationally recognized American Land Title Association (A.L.T.A.) policies.
Starter — A copy of the last policy issued by a title insurer, which describes the condition of the 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 the title, and is called a back title letter or back title certificate.
Subdivision – A housing development that is created by dividing a tract of land into individual lots for sale or lease.
Subordination – The procedure of allowing a new loan or obligation to take priority over an existing encumbrance.
Subrogation – Subrogation is a term denoting a legal right reserved by most insurance carriers. Subrogation is the right for an insurer to legally pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. This is done as a means of recovering the amount of the claim paid by the insurance carrier to the insured for the loss.
Subsituation Loan and Subsituation Rate – A loan made to the same borrower on the same land, or by the same lender on the same land, the title to which was insured by the insurer in connection with the original loan. A reduced rate for premium is given in such cases.
Survey – A drawing or map showing the precise legal boundaries of a property, the location of improvements, easements, rights of way, encroachments, and other physical features.
Take Out Loan — The “permanent” (long term) financing of real estate after completion of construction.
Tandem Plan – A mortgage purchase program subsidized by the U.S. government. Tandem loans provide monetary assistance to builders and developers of non-profit public housing. Under the Tandem Plan, the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA / Ginnie Mae) buys mortgages at discounted market price and then sells them through the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA / Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (FHLMC / Freddie Mac).
Tax Deed — (1) Deed from tax collector to government body after a period of non-payment of taxes according to statute. (2) 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 procedures must be followed to prevent attachment of prior liens.
Tenancy in Common – As opposed to joint tenancy, when there are two or more individuals on title to a piece of property, this type of ownership does not pass ownership to the others in the event of death.
Tenant – One who has right of possession of land by any kind of title. The word “tenant” used alone in modern times is used almost exclusively in the limited meaning of a tenant of a leasehold estate.
Testate — Having written a last will and testament.
Time Share Ownership – A timeshare is an ownership model in which many customers own allotments of usage in the same property. The timeshare model can be applied to many different types of properties, such as condominiums, homes, campgrounds, recreational vehicles and private jets.
Time Share Unit – An interest in a residential or commercial property which by contract or by conveyance of a real property interest allows a purchaser to occupy the unit during a particular week or weeks for a stated number of years. There are two major forms of time share estate:
(a) Interval ownership. A time share estate where the unit purchaser is deeded an estate for years, giving a right to occupy the unit for a particular week during a stated number of years with a remainder interest in fee as a tenant in common with all other purchasers of the unit.
(b) Time span ownership – A time share estate where the unit purchaser is deeded an undivided percentage interest in the unit as a tenant in common with all other purchasers and the right to occupy the unit for a particular time period is governed by contractual provisions of the time share declaration.
Title – A legal document evidencing a person’s right to or ownership of a property.
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.
Torrens Title — A system by which title to land is registered with a registrar of land titles, instead of being recorded. Originally established by Sir Torrens in Australia in 1858.
Turn-Key Housing – Housing initially financed and built by private sponsors and purchased by housing authorities for use by low-income families under the public housing program.
Veteran’s Administration (VA) Loans — Housing loans to veterans 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.
Variable Rate Mortgage – A type of home loan in which the interest rate is not fixed. The two most common types of mortgages in the United States are fixed rate and variable rate (also called adjustable rate). With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate does not change for the entire loan term.
Vendee – Buyer.
Vendor – Seller.
Vest – To become owned by.
Waiver of Liens – See Lien Waiver.
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 practical means of recovery by the grantee for defective title.
Wraparound Mortgage – A type of loan that enables a borrower who is paying off an existing mortgage to obtain more financing from a second lender or seller. The new lender (typically a bank or the seller of the real property) assumes the payment of the existing mortgage and provides the borrower with a new, larger loan, usually at a higher interest rate. A wraparound mortgage is also known as a wraparound loan, overriding mortgage, or all-inclusive mortgage.