Abstract - a brief synopsis of legal documents affecting a specific piece of property, which is compiled in chronological order and includes all the instruments in the chain of title.
Abstract certificate - a certificate appearing at the end of an abstract showing the time period covered and the public records that have been searched. Limitations that affect possible liability are included.
Abstracter - the person or company making abstracts.
Abstract of Judgment- a brief transcript of the essentials of a judgment
Abstract of Title - see abstract.
Abstract Plant - a set of records of all the recorded instruments in a county indexed geographically by the real property description and a set of records indexed alphabetically as to other miscellaneous instruments that affect real property by operation of law. It is so arranged that all the instruments affecting a piece of land can be immediately found under the index heading of such land.
Access - the right to enter and leave a trace of land from a public way.
Accretion - the slow build of uplands by natural forces such as wind, wave or water.
Acre - a tract of land 208.71 feet square and containing 43,560 square feet of land.
Acreage - a piece of property described according to the land survey system. This property has not been platted or subdivided.
Acreage Description - see metes and bounds.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)- mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted, in accordance with some market indicator, to more closely coincide with the current rates. The extent and number of these adjustments are agreed to at the inception of the loan.
Administrator - a person appointed by a probate court to settle the affairs of an individual dying without a will.
Ad Valorem - according to the value.
Ad Valorem Taxes - taxes calculated on the assessed value of real property.
Adverse Possession- the possession, by one person of land belonging to another in a manner deemed adverse to the interest of the owner. In most states, by operation of law, title to the land becomes vested in such person after a fixed number of years if the owner fails to assert his or her rights.
Affidavit - a written statement as to certain facts, made voluntarily under oath, before a notary public or other judicial officer.
Agent - an individual or corporation, who having received authority from another, acts on the other's behalf within the scope of such authority.
Agreement - a legally binding contract made between two or more persons.
Air Rights - the right to ownership of everything above the physical surface of the land.
ALTA (American Land Title Association) - the trade association of the title insurance industry, which has adopted certain insurance policy forms to standardize coverage on a national basis.
ALTA Format - standard American Land Title Association format for commitments, policies, and miscellaneous title insurance forms.
Amortization- payment to reduce the principal of a debt in regular, periodic installments.
Appraisal - a report from an independent third party detailing the estimated value of real estate.
Appurtenance - a right or privilege that is a part of the ownership of property, such as a right of way to a highway across the land of another. Water rights are also an example.
Assessment - (1) The valuation of real estate for the purpose of taxes or special improvement charges. (2) The amount of taxes or special improvement charges. Special improvement charges are usually for the costs of streets, sidewalks, sewers, etc.
Assessor - a public official who evaluates property for the purpose of taxation.
Assignee - one to whom a transfer of interest is made. For example, the assignee of a mortgage or contract.
Assignment - (1) The act of transferring an interest, such as a loan secured by a mortgage, from one person to another. (2) The instrument or paper by which one person transfers such ownership to another.
Assignor- one who makes an assignment. For example, the assignor of mortgage or contract.
Assumption of Mortgage - the taking of title for real property by a grantee (buyer), wherein he expressly assumes personal liability for the payment of an existing note secured by an existing mortgage against the property.
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 to execute legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, etc. on behalf of the grantor of the power.
Attorney's Opinion - a statement by an attorney as to the validity of a title, arrived at after investigation of the history of the title as recorded in the public records.
Back Title Letter - also called "back title certificate" in some areas, and "starter" in others. When titles previously have been examined up to a certain date by reliable examiners, title companies sometimes give subsequent examiners of such titles a letter that sets forth the condition of the title at the time of the previous examination and authorizes them to begin their subsequent examination with the terminal date of the previous examination.
Balloon Note - a form of promissory note that calls for the minimum payment of principal and the payment of interest at regular intervals. This type of note requires a substantial final payment, which represents the entire principal.
Bankruptcy - proceeding in U.S. District Court wherein assets of an insolvent debtor are protected and distributed in an equitable manner.
Base Title - prior title information that covers the title to a certain point in time.
Bench Mark- a mark on a permanent object indicating elevation and serving as a reference in land surveys.
Binder - sometimes called "preliminary certificate" or "commitment." (1) A preliminary report as to the condition of a title and a commitment to issue a title insurance policy in a certain manner when certain conditions are met. (2) A deposit in escrow of a small part of the purchase price of real estate as evidence of good faith and to bind an agreement to purchase.
Blanket Mortgage - a single mortgage that covers more than one parcel of real estate.
Block - a subdivision of a plat. Each block is assigned a unique number or letter in relation to other blocks. A block may be unsubdivided, or in turn be subdivided into lots also having a unique number or letter.
Bureau of Land Management - the branch of the government in charge of surveying public lands.
Certificate of Title - a certificate issued by a title examiner stating the condition of a title; a judicial transfer of title subsequent to a foreclosure which vests title in the successful bidder at a sale or his assigns
Certification Date - (1) the date through which recorded documents affecting title have been compiled for title search All abstracts and chains should always have a certified date indicated. In preparing commitments, the title information's certification date becomes your effective date; (2) the date through which title plant records have been indexed, regardless of the type of indexing system.
Chain -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.
Chain of Title - a listing of all deeds, wills, or other conveyances and transfers of title to real property along with encumbrances of all kinds; the word chain referring to link, that is, linking the chain of deeds and encumbrances.
Chattel Mortgage - a mortgage on personal property, such as a piece of furniture, an automobile, or a head of livestock.
Claim - an adverse right or interest asserted by one party against another or against an insurer or indemnitor. Claims may arise from unpaid debts or taxes, as well as from hidden title defects such as fraud, forgery, missing heirs, etc.
Clear Title - Real property ownership free of liens, defects, encumbrances or claims.
Closing - the formality of finalizing a transaction, either the transferring or financing of property
Closing Protection Letter - an instrument issued to a prospective client insured by Dakota Homestead in which Dakota Homestead assumes liability for loss due to the fraud of, dishonesty of, misappropriation of funds by, or failure to comply with written closing instructions by an Agent in connection with a real estate transaction for which a title insurance policy by Dakota Homestead is to be issued.
Closing Statement - the statement, in the form of a balance sheet, used in a real estate closing to show the charges and credits for each party to the closing transaction, and also the balance due from or to the respective parties.
Clouded Title - An irregularity, possible claim or encumbrance that, if valid, would adversely affect or impair the title.
Co-insurance - two or more policies of title insurance issued by different underwriters, each covering a portion of the same risk, which when taken together provide total coverage of the risk. This should not be confused with reinsurance.
Commitment - also called "binder." A document issued by a title insurance company that contains the conditions under which a policy of title insurance will be issued.
Condemnation - (1) The taking of private property for a public purpose, with compensation to the owner under the right of eminent domain. Governmental units, railroads and utility companies have the right to condemn and take private property. (2) The destruction by government of private property that imperils the life, health or safety of the public.
Condition or Conditions - a proviso in a deed or a will that upon the happening or failure to happen of a certain event, the title of the purchaser or devisee will be limited, enlarged, changed or terminated.
Conditions and Restrictions - a common term used to designate the use to which land may not be put and providing penalties for failure to comply. "Commonly used by land subdividers on newly platted areas."
Condominium - a condominium is a form of ownership, not a building type. Usually it is an apartment house, office building or other multiple unit building or group of buildings in which the apartments or other
units intended for separate occupancy or use are individually owned and the unit owners collectively own the common facilities.
Condominium Property- this includes the following: (1) the lands and leaseholds that are subjected to condominium ownership, whether or not contiguous, and all improvements afterwards; (2) all to easements and rights owned in addition the property intended for use in connection with the condominium.
Condominium Unit - the apartment (or residential unit) or office space in a condominium complex together with an undivided interest in the common areas. These units are considered real property.
Continuation of Abstract - also known an extension of supplementary abstracts. It may also be referred to as a partial abstract, and it begins at the final certification date of the previous abstract and includes all instruments recorded since the prior abstract to a current certification date.
Continuation Page - a blank form provided by Dakota Homestead to use when one runs out of room on either Schedules A or B of any commitment, policy, or endorsement.
Contract - 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.
Conventional Loan - a loan secured by a mortgage or deed of trust for which the loan-to-value ratio is within an acceptable range for a particular lending institution.
Covenant - a formal agreement or contract between two parties in which one party gives the other certain promises and assurances, such as covenants of warranty in a warranty deed.
Convey - the act of deeding or transferring title to another.
Conveyance - the transfer of title of land from one to another; also, the instrument that accomplishes this transfer.
Cooperative - a residential multi-unit building owned by and operated for the benefit of persons living within.
Courtesy - a right that a husband has in his wife's property at her death. It does not exist in all states.
Cul De Sac - the terminus of a street or alley.
Date of Filing - the month, day, and year a document was filed in the public records.
Date of Instrument - the month, day, and year the document was prepared.
Dedication - the setting aside of certain land by the owner and declaring it to be for public use. Examples:
streets, sidewalks and parks.
Deed - a written instrument signed and witnessed by two persons by which one person conveys title of land to another. While more commonly used to convey title to real property, it may also be used to convey title to personal property.
Deed Restriction - a covenant contained in a deed imposing limits on the use or occupancy of the real estate or the type, size, purpose or location of improvements to be constructed on it.
Defect - a blemish, imperfection or deficiency. A defective title is one that is irregular and faulty.
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.
Depreciation - loss in value occasioned by ordinary wear and tear, destructive action of the elements, or functional or economic obsolescence.
Description - (1) by metes and bounds - a method of describing the boundaries of a parcel of land-using distances and angles, or actual boundaries, such as roads and creeks, with reference to a known point of beginning; (2) by monuments - a delineation of the boundaries of a piece of land using prominent physical features of the land, such as trees and roads, as reference points.
Devise - a gift of real estate made by a will.
Disbursement - paying out all funds due to the seller, buyer, real estate agent, attorney, surveyor, or other parties at closing rather than holding monies in escrow for a clearing period.
Document - a written means for evidencing facts for the purpose of providing notice of transactions and obligations, such as conveyances of land, mortgages, liens, judgments, etc. See instrument.
Dominant Estate - the property for the benefit of which a right-of-way easement exists across another's adjoining piece of land is said to be the dominant estate. The land across which the easement runs is said to be the servient estate.
Dower - a right that a wife has in her husband's property at the time of his death. Does not exist in all states.
Earnest Money - a deposit of funds by the purchaser of a piece of real estate as evidence of good faith.
Easement - a right or interest in the land of another, which entitles the holder to some use, privilege, or benefit (such as to place pole lines, pipe lines, roads, or travel over, etc.) out of or over said land.
Effective Date of Commitment - the date through which the attorney has examined physical documents affecting title to property being transferred. Same as certification date.
Effective Date of Policy - the date of recording of the instrument creating the estate or interest being insured or a date after it; usually date of recording of closing documents (deed, mortgage).
Egress - the right to leave a tract of land. "Often used interchangeably with access."
Eminent Domain - the right of a government to take privately owned property for public purposes under condemnation proceedings subject to payment of its fair market value.
Encroachment - any building, improvement or structure located on one property (such as a wall, fence or driveway) that intrudes upon the property of another.
Encumber - to burden a parcel of land with a lien or charge such as a mortgage.
Encumbrance - any interest, right, lien or liability attached to a parcel of land (such as unpaid taxes or an unsatisfied mortgage) that constitutes or represents a burden or charge upon the property.
Endorsement - form provided by The Fund, which is used for the amendment of any information that has appeared as part of any Fund commitment or policy.
Equity - the market value of real property, less the amount of existing liens.
Escheat - the reversion of property to the state when an owner dies leaving no legal heirs, devisees or claimants.
Escrow - (1) a transaction in which a third party as a depository for seller and buyer or for borrower and lender acts in carrying out the instructions of both first and second parties, and also in handling and disbursing the papers and funds; (2) special non-interest bearing account used by attorneys and REALTORS to hold down payments, earnest money, and funds from closing for a specified clearing period if custom allows.
Estate - a person's possessions.
Estoppel - a legal restraint that stops or prevents a person from contradicting or reneging on his previous position or previous assertions or commitments.
Examination - the study of the instruments and muniments incident to a chain of title to determine their effect and condition in order to reach a conclusion as to the status of the title.
Exceptions - any items that will not be covered by the policy, usually easements, restrictions, leases, etc., which are found of record in studying title information, and are either cleared before closing or excluded from coverage.
Execute - to sign a legal instrument. A deed is said to be executed when it is signed, sealed, witnessed and delivered.
Executor - a person appointed by the probate court to carry out the terms of a will.
Fannie Mae (FNMA) - Federal National Mortgage Association. A private corporation dealing in the purchase of first mortgages.
Fee simple - an absolute fee; a fee without limitation to any particular class or heirs or restrictions; the highest estate or interest in land. Basically the terms "fee," "fee simple," and "fee simple absolute" are all synonymous.
Fee Simple Deed - the absolute ownership of a parcel of land. The highest degree of ownership that a person can have in real estate, which gives the owner unqualified ownership and full power of disposition.
FHA (Federal Housing Administration) - a federal agency that insures first mortgages, enabling lenders to lend a very high percentage of the sale price.
Filing - in the title business, it is synonymous with recording.
Financing Statement- a document prepared for filing with the Register of Deeds or Secretary of state indicating that personal property or fixtures is encumbered with a debt.
First Party- usually the person(s) initiating the action of a document. The document is usually signed by the first party, such as the grantor, mortgagor, etc.
Fixed Rate Mortgage - a mortgage having a rate of interest that remains the same for the life of the mortgage.
Fixtures - personal property that is attached to real property and is legally treated as real property while it is so attached. Examples: medicine cabinets, window blinds and chandeliers.
Foreclosure - a court proceeding against real property to satisfy a debt by selling the property under court order when it was used as a security for a debt and the debt was not paid.
Forgery - the :fraudulent signing of another's name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage or check.
Freddie Mac (FHLMC) - Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. A federal agency that purchases both conventional and federally insured first mortgages from members of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Home Loan Bank System
Ginnie Mae (GNMA) - Government National Mortgage Association. A federal association working with the FHA that offers special assistance in obtaining mortgages and purchases mortgages in the secondary market.
Grant - to bestow or confer, with or without compensation, a gift such as land or money by one having control or authority over the gift.
Grantee - one receiving title to real property, such as the purchaser of property; a person to whom a grant is made.
Grantor - one who signs a deed thereby granting title, such as the seller of real property.
Guardian - one appointed by the court to administer the affairs of an individual not capable of administering his own affairs.
Hard Copy - photocopy of a document filed at a county courthouse.
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.
Hereditaments - any and all kinds of estates, interest and rights in real estate that can be inherited.
Hiatus - a gap or space unintentionally left between, when attempting to describe adjacent parcels of land.
Homeowners Insurance - real estate insurance protecting against loss caused by fire, some natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending on the terms of the policy. Also includes coverage such as personal liability and theft away from home.
Homestead - a property defined by law and designated by a natural person as a house or home that is not subject to forced sale to pay his debts. In Florida, the homestead land also enjoys tax benefits.
HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) - the federal department responsible for the major housing programs in the United States.
Improvements - those additions to raw lands tending to increase value such as buildings, streets, sewer, etc.
Inchoate Dower - the imperfected interest which the law gives a wife in the lands of her husband. "This is an interest which upon the death of the husband may ripen into possession and use."
Indemnity - to make payment for a loss.
Indemnification Letter - see closing protection letter.
Index - (1) An alphabetical listing in the public records of the names of parties to recorded real estate instruments together with the book and page number of the record. (2) The listing in abstract and title plants of recorded real estate instruments in groups according to land descriptions, known as-a geographic index.
(3) The alphabetical listing in abstract and title plants, by names of the parties, of all recorded instruments that affect but do not describe particular real estate, such as judgments, powers of attorney, wills and probate proceedings. Such indexes are known by various names, such as "general index," "judgment index" and "name index."
Ingress - the right to enter a tract of land. "Often used interchangeably with access."
Instrument - a written document; a formal or legal document in writing, such as a contract, deed, lease, or will.
Insurer - the term applied to the title insurance company or underwriter.
Intestate - designates the estate or condition of failing to leave a will at death.
Inventory Sheet - record-keeping material that is sent with every shipment of forms to assist you in your in house accounting.
Jacket - the serialized exterior into which Schedules A and B fit. It is the only portion of the policy that must be accounted for due to serializing.
Joint Tenants - two or more persons who hold title to real estate jointly, with equal Tights, with dearly stated rights of survivorship according to statute. If one of the joint tenants conveys his interest, the joint tenancy is terminated and they would all be tenants in common.
Judgment - the decision of a court of law awarding payment of money or other relief against one party for the benefit of another.
Judgment Docket - the record book of a County Clerk where a judgment is entered in order that it may become a lien upon the property of the debtor.
Judgment Lien - the charge upon the lands of a debtor resulting from the decree of a court properly entered in the judgment docket.
Junior Mortgage- a mortgage lower in lien priority than another.
Landmark - any conspicuous object that helps establish land boundaries.
Lease - a contract between an owner and a tenant, setting forth conditions upon which the tenant may occupy and use the real property and the term of the occupancy.
Leasehold - the right to possession and use of land for a fixed period of time. The lease is the agreement that creates the right.
Legal Description - a statement that clearly describes the location of the boundaries of a tract of real property with respect to some point of reference. Metes and bounds, lots and blocks in platted subdivisions, and units in condominiums are several types of legal descriptions. It is relied on rather than a street address because it is more exact and unchanging.
Lessee - the party who contracts to lease from the lessor or landlord; a tenant.
Lessor - the party who enters into a lease with another; the owner.
License - permission to go upon or use the land of another, the permission being a personal privilege and not constituting an interest in the land.
Lien - a claim on the property of another person as security for the payment of a debt.
Lien Waver - also called "waiver of liens." A waiver of mechanics' lien rights, signed by contractors or subcontractors.
Life Estate - a grant or reservation of the right of use, occupancy and ownership for the life of an individual.
Link - in surveying, a length of7.92 inches.
Loan Policy - also called "mortgage policy." A title insurance policy insuring a mortgagee, or beneficiary under a deed of trust, against loss caused by invalidity or unenforceability of a lien, or loss of priority of the mortgage or deed of trust.
Lis Pendens - a legal notice intending to bind third parties of litigation claiming an interest in real estate.
Lot - generally, any portion or parcel of real property. Usually refers to a portion of a subdivision.
Majority- the age at which a person is entitled to handle his own affairs.
Marketability - the status of a title when viewed in the light of whether or not it is in such condition as to be free from legal doubt or uncertainty; also known as a merchantable title.
Market Value - the average of the highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay and the lowest price a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.
Mechanic's Lien - a lien on real estate, created by operation of law, that secures the payment of debts due to persons who perform labor or services or furnish materials incident to the construction of buildings and improvements on the real estate.
Metes and Bounds - used in legal descriptions of land by surveyors. Metes are measurements such as feet, yards, chains, and miles. Bounds are boundaries both natural and artificial, such as lakes, rivers, roads, and railroads.
Mortgage - a conditioned pledge of property to a creditor as security for the payment of a debt.
Mortgage Insurance - insurance written by an independent mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against loss incurred by a mortgage default, thus enabling the lender to lend a higher percentage of the sale price.
Mortgagee - the holder of a mortgage. The party to whom a mortgage is made, generally the lender.
Mortgagee Policy - see Loan Policy.
Mortgagor - a person who mortgages property. A person who executes a mortgage, generally the property owner.
Multiple Listing - the pooling in a central bureau of listings of properties for sale. These listings are held individually by members of a group of real estate brokers, with the agreement that any member of the group may sell the properties and, in the case of a sale, the commission will be divided between the broker making the sale and the broker who filed the listing.
Muniments of Title - written evidence (documents) that an owner possesses to prove his or her title to property.
Notary- one authorized to take acknowledgements.
Note - also called "promissory note." A written promise to pay a sum of money, usually at a specified interest rate, at a stated time to a named payee.
Owner's Policy- a policy of title insurance insuring an owner of real estate against loss occasioned by defects in, liens against or unmarketability of the owner's title.
Ownership - the right to possess and use property to the exclusion of others.
Parcel - a general term referring to any described piece of real property.
Patent - a document issued for the purpose of granting public lands to an individual.
Personal Property - any property that is not real property (examples: stocks, bonds, mortgages, notes, cars, boats, furniture).
Plat - a map or plan of a subdivision
Plat book - the public record book in which maps, plats, and copies of surveys are recorded.
Point - also called "commission points" or "discount points." One percent of the amount of the loan.
Policy - a written contract of title insurance.
Policyowner - one who owns a title insurance policy.
Power of Attorney- an instrument authorizing another to act on one's behalf as his agent or attorney.
Power of Sale - a clause inserted in a will, deed or trust or trust agreement authorizing the sale or transfer of land in accordance with the terms of the clause.
Premium - the amount payable for an insurance policy.
Prescriptive Easement - a right to use another's property that is not inconsistent with the owner's rights and that is acquired by an open, notorious, adverse and continuous use for the statutory period, for example 20 years.
Principal - (1) A sum of money owed as a debt on which interest is payable. (2) A person who empowers another to act as his representative or agent. (3) The person having prime responsibility for an obligation as distinguished from one who acts as a surety or endorser.
Pro-Rate - to allocate between seller and buyer their proportionate share of an obligation paid or due. "For example, a pro-rate of real property taxes or fire insurance."
Public Records - the records consisting of instruments transcribed on the record books of governmental offices, in particular the Clerk of the Circuit Court or Comptroller's office.
Purchase Money Mortgage - a mortgage given by the buyer to the seller of particular property as part of the purchase price. The term may, under certain conditions, include a mortgage to a third party.
Quiet Title - an action in District Court to remove record defects.
Quit Claim Deed - a deed that does not imply that the grantor holds title, but that surrenders and gives to the grantee any possible interest or rights that the grantor may have in the property.
Range - a part of the government survey, being a strip of land 6 miles in width, and numbered east or west of the principal meridian.
Real Estate - also called "real property." (1) Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, such as building, fences and those things attached to the buildings, such as light fixtures, plumbing and heating fixtures, or other such items that would be personal property if not attached. (2) May refer to rights in real property as well as the property itself.
Recording - the noting in a public office of the details of a legal document - such as a deed or mortgage - affecting the title to real estate. When such an instrument is properly recorded, it is considered to be a matter of public record. Legally, that means that all subsequent purchasers are deemed to have constructive knowledge of that information.
Redeem - literally "to buy back." The act of buying back lands after a mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, or other execution sale.
Reinsurance - a contractual relationship between two insurance companies under which one insurer assumes a portion of the risk of the insurance policy written by the other.
Reissue - the issuance of a new title insurance policy based on a prior exposure or prior policy.
Reissue Credit - a discount towards Dakota Homestead's title premium when a prior policy provides base title information, under limited circumstances.
Release - (I) To relieve from debt or security or abandon a right, such as the release of a mortgage lien from a part or all of the land mortgaged. (2) The instrument effecting a release.
Replat - a new plat changing all or portions of a former plat.
Restrictions (or restrictive covenants) - limitations in a deed or by separate instrument, which restricts the use, occupation, and improvement of land.
Right-of-Way- the right which one has to pass across the lands of another. An easement.
Riparian Rights - the rights of owners of lands bordering watercourses which relate to the water and its use.
Risk - the risk that a title company assumes when it insures an interest of real property.
Sale Agreement - a contract entered into between a buyer and seller, setting forth the terms, provisions and conditions of a sale of real estate.
Sale and Leaseback - the sale of an asset to a buyer who immediately leases it back to the seller.
Schedule "A" - first page of a commitment or policy inside a jacket cover. Schedule "B"- second page of a commitment or policy inside a jacket cover. Search- - see title search
Second Mortgage - a mortgage ranking in priority immediately below a first mortgage.
Second Party - anyone who is the recipient of an action created by a document, such as a grantee, mortgagee, etc.
Section or Section of Land - a parcel of land comprising one square mile or 640 acres.
Set Back Lines - those lines which delineate the required distances for the location of structure in relation to the perimeter of the property.
Simultaneous Issue - owner and mortgagee policies covering identical land that are issued with the same effective dates.
Subdivision - a tract of land laid out and divided into lots, blocks, etc.
Subordination - the act or process by which a person's rights are ranked below the rights of others. For example, a second mortgagee's rights are subordinate to those of the first mortgagee.
Sub-Surface Right-the right to ownership of everything beneath the physical surface of the property.
Surety - (I) A person who agrees to be responsible for a debt or obligation of another. (2) The pledge or agreement by which one undertakes responsibility for the debt or obligation of another.
Survey - the act by which the boundaries and quantity of land are determined; the map or plat drawn by a surveyor that shows the results of the survey.
Tenancy in Common - an estate or interest in land held by two or more persons each having equal rights or possession and enjoyment but without any right of survivorship between the owners.
Tenant - any person in possession of real property with the owner's permission.
Testament- another term for a will. Commonly referred to as "land will and testament."
Testate - the estate or condition of leaving a will at death.
Testator - a man who makes or has made a testament or will.
Thence - in surveying and in metes and bounds descriptions, the term designates that the course and distance given thereafter is a continuation of the course and distance given before.
Time-Share - a facility or property where ownership and/or use is divided into time periods. These units are considered an interest in real property.
Title - (1) A combination of all the elements that constitute the highest legal right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy and dispose of real estate or an inheritable right or interest therein. (2) The rights of ownership recognized and protected by the law.
Title Certificate - an examined summary Of the status of title to specific real property, including liens and encumbrances, to be used by attorneys for the issuance of title insurance commitments and final policies written on The Fund.
Title Covenants - Covenants ordinarily inserted in conveyances and in transfers of title to real estate for the purpose of giving protection to the purchaser against possible insufficiency of the title received. A group of such covenants !mown as "common law covenants" includes: covenants against encumbrances; covenants for further assurance (in other words, to do whatever is necessary to rectify title deficiencies); covenants of good right and authority to convey; covenants of quiet enjoyment; covenants of seisin; covenants of warranty. (See Warranty or Covenant.)
Title Defect - (1) Any possible or patent claim or right outstanding in a chain of title that is adverse to the claim of ownership. (2) Any material irregularity in the execution or effect of an instrument in the chain of title.
Title Insurance - indemnity against loss resulting from defects in or undisclosed liens upon a title.
Title Insurance Policy - a contract of title insurance under which the insurer, in keeping with the terms of the policy, agrees to indemnify the insured against loss arising from claims against the insured interest.
Title Plant - see abstract plant
Title Search - a general term referring to a search and examination of the public records for recorded instruments that affect the title to the parcel of land under search. It may be in the form of an abstract, chain of title, title certificate, etc.
Township- a division of territory 6 miles square, containing 36 sections or 36 square miles.
Tract - some plats may be subdivided into areas designated as tracts. Each tract is assigned a unique number or letter in relation to other tracts. In many cases this can be an unused portion of a subdivision that is outside the subdivided areas !mown as lots, blocks, etc. "Tract" is also used as a general term to indicate a large area of property.
Trust - a right of property held by one for the benefit of another.
Trustee - a person holding property in trust.
Underlying Property - the property description prior to a plat or condominium declaration.
Underwriter - an insurance company that issues insurance policies to the public or to another insurer.
Unit (apartment) - a part of a legal description that designates the portion under individual ownership within a condominium building and the undivided interest in the common areas that belong to it.
Unit (subdivision) - a development portion or phase of a subdivision, usually encompassed by a separate plat
Unrecorded - not recorded.
Variable Interest Rate - also called "flexible interest rate." An interest rate that fluctuates as the prevailing rate moves up or down. In mortgages, there are usually maximums as to the frequency and amount of fluctuation.
Vendee - a purchaser of real property.
Vendor - a seller of real property.
Vest - to pass to a person an immediate right.
Vestee - a non-legal term coined by title insurers and used by them to indicate the owner of real property.
Veterans Administration (VA) Loans - housing loans to veterans by banks, savings and loans, or other lenders that are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, enabling veterans to buy a residence with little or no down payment.
Waiver - the voluntary and intentional relinquishment of a known right, claim or privilege.
Warrant - to assure the title to the real property sold by an express covenant to that effect in the deed or conveyance; to stipulate by an express covenant that the title of a grantee shall be good and his possession undisturbed.
Warranty- in a broad sense, an agreement or undertaking by a seller to be responsible for present or future losses of the purchaser occasioned by deficiency or defect in the quality, condition or quantity of the thing sold. In a stricter sense, the provision or provisions in a deed, lease or other instrument conveying or transferring an estate or interest in real estate under which the seller becomes liable to the purchaser for defects in or encumbrances on the title. (See Title Covenants.)
Warranty Deed - generally understood to mean "General Warranty" and containing five warranties.
Will - a testamentary disposition of property, usually in a form prescribed by law, that takes effect upon death.
Zoning - laws passed by local governments regulating the size, type, structure, nature and use of land or buildings.
Shared with permission from Dakota Homestead Real Estate
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