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Real Estate Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V 

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A
ABSTRACT OF JUDGMENT

  • A summary of the essential provisions of a court judgment.  When recorded, an abstract of judgment creates a lien on all of the real property of the judgment debtor in the country in which it is recorded

ACCELERATION CLAUSE

  • A clause in a Deed of Trust or Note that accelerates or hastens the time when the debt becomes due. For example, most Deeds or Trust of loans contain a provision that the Note shall become due immediately upon the sale of transfer of title of the loan, or upon failure to pay an installment of principal or interest.  This is also called a due on sale clause.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  • A formal declaration made before a duly authorized officer (usually a notary public) by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his or her act and deed.

ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM)

  • A mortgage in which the interest rate is adjusted periodically according to a preselected index.  The terms, adjustment schedule and index to be used can vary based on the particular lender.

AGENCY

  • A relationship created when one person (the principal) delegates to another (the agent) the right to act on his or her behalf in business transactions.

ALL-INCLUSIVE TRUST DEED (WRAP AROUND MORTGAGE)

  • A financing technique that involves the creation of a new trust deed that includes the balance due on the existing note plus any new funds advanced.

AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION (ALTA)

  • A national association of title insurance companies, abstractors and agents.  The association adopts standard title policy forms.

AMORTIZATION

  • The process of paying off a debt in installments over a given period of time without a final balloon payment.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR)

  • An expression of the percentage relationship of the total finance charges to the total amount to be financed as required under the federal Truth-in-Lending Act.

APPRAISAL

  • An opinion of the value of property resulting from an analysis of factors affecting market value.

ASSESSED VALUATION

  • The value that a taxing authority places upon real or personal property for the purpose of taxation.

ASSESSMENT

  • A levy against property in addition to general taxes.  Usually for improvements such as streets, sewers, etc.

ASSUMABLE

  • A mortgage loan which can be transferred to another person without a change in the terms of the loan

ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE

  • Agreement by a buyer to assume the liability under an existing note secured by a mortgage or Deed of Trust.  The lender usually must approve the new debtor in order to release the existing debtor (usually the seller) for liability.

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B
BALLOON NOTE

  • A note calling for periodic payments which are insufficient to fully amortize the face amount of the note prior to maturity, so that a principal sum known as a “balloon” is due at maturity.

BALLOON PAYMENT

  • The unpaid principal amount of a loan due on a specific date in the future.  Usually the amount that must be paid in a lump sum at the end of the term.

BENEFICIARY

  • The person who is entitled to receive funds or property under the terms and provisions of a will, trust, insurance policy or security instrument.  In connection with a mortgage loan the beneficiary is the lender.

BENEFICIARY’S STATEMENT

  • The statement of a lender which gives the remaining principal balance due on a note and other information concerning the loan.  It is usually obtained in escrow when the owner wishes to sell or refinance.

BILL OF SALE

  • An instrument by which title to personal property is transferred or conveyed.

BONA FIDE PURCHASER (BFP)

  • One who buys property in good faith, for fair value, and without notice of any adverse claims or rights of third parties.

BORROWER

  • One who borrows funds, with the express or implied intention of repaying the loan in full, or giving the equivalent.

BREACH OF CONTRACT

  • Failure to perform a contract, in whole or in part, without legal excuse.

BROKER

  • A person licensed to act as an agent for another in negotiating the sale or purchase of real property of real property in return for a fee or commission.

BUYDOWN

  • A financing technique used to reduce the monthly payment for the home buying borrower during the initial years of ownership.  Under some buydown plans, a residential developer, builder or the seller will make subsidy payments (in the form of pints) to the lender that “buy down,” or lower, the effective interest rate paid by the home buyer, thus reducing monthly payments for a set period of time.

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C
CC & Rs (COVENANTS, CONDITIONS & RESTRICTIONS)

  • Limitations placed on the use and enjoyment of real property.  These are found most often in condominiums and planned unit developments.

CHAIN OF TITLE

  • A chronological list of recorded instruments tracing title to land from the original owner to the present owner.

CAP

  • The maximum which an adjustable rate mortgage may increase regardless of index changes.

CLEAR TITLE

  • Title to property which is free from liens, defects or other encumbrances.

CLOSING

  • The process of completing a real estate transaction during which the seller delivers title to the buyer in exchange for payment of the purchase price.  Called a “settlement” in some areas.

CLOSING COSTS

  • Expenses, beyond the selling price, such as loan fees, etc.  Paid when documents are executed and/or recorded and the sale is complete.

CLOSING STATEMENT

  • A summary, in the form of a balance sheet, showing the amounts of debits and credits to which each party to a real estate transaction is entitled upon closing.

CLOUD ON TITLE

  • Any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance, which, if valid, would affect or impair title to a property.

COMMISSION

  • Compensation due a real estate broker for acting on behalf of the principal.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY

  • A form of vesting title to property owned by a husband and wife during their marriage which they intend to own together.  It is distinguished from separate property, which is property acquired before marriage, by separate gift or bequest, after legal separation or which is agreed in writing to be owned by one spouse.

COMPARABLES (COMPS)

  • An abbreviation for comparable properties used for comparative purposes in the appraisal process.

CONSIDERATION

  • A required element in all contracts by which something of value, including a promise, is exchanged for the act or promise of another.

CONTINGENCY

  • Action conditioned upon a certain event.  Acceptance of the terms of a contract based on something else happening or certain conditions being met.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE

  • A mortgage or Deed of Trust not obtained under a government insured program such as FHA or VA.

CONVEYANCE

  • The transfer of title or an interest in real property by means of a written instrument such as a deed of trust.

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D
DEED

  • Generally, an instrument given to pass fee title or easement to property that has to be recorded with the County Recorder.

DEED OF TRUST

  • A security agreement creating a lien by which title to real property is transferred to a third-party trustee as security for an obligation owed by the trustor (borrower) to the beneficiary (lender)

DEMAND

  • The lender’s statement of the amount due to pay off a loan.

DEPOSIT

  • Money given by the buyer with an offer to purchase.  Shows good faith.  Also called earnest money.

DISCOUNT POINTS

  • A negotiable fee paid to the lender to secure financing for the buyer.  Discount points are up front charges to reduce the interest rate on the loan over the life or portion of the loan’s term.  One discount point equals one percent of the loan amount.

DISPOSABLE INCOME

  • Monthly income left over after fixed obligations and living expenses are paid for that period.

DOCUMENTARY TRANSFER TAX

  • The tax, based on sales price, less loans which are being assumed, which is charged by the city and/or county on the transfer of real property.

DOWN PAYMENT

  • Cash portion of the purchase price paid by a buyer from his/her own funds.

DUE-ON-SALE-CLAUSE

  • A clause in a mortgage loan which gives the lender the right to demand payment in full when the property changes ownership.  Not applicable to FHA or VA loans.

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E
EARNEST MONEY

  • The cash deposit paid by a prospective buyer as evidence of good faith to bind a sale of real estate.

EASEMENT

  • A limited right or interest in land of another that entitle the holder of the right to some use, privilege or benefit over the land.

ENCUMBRANCE

  • A claim, right or lien upon real property held by someone other than the owner.

EQUITY

  • The value of a person’s interest in real property after all liens and charges has been deducted.

EXECUTE

  • To put into effect: carry out.  To make valid, as by signing a deed.

ESCROW

  • The process in which a disinterested third party holds money and documents for delivery to the respective parties in a transaction on performance of established conditions.

EXCEPTION

  • A provision in a title insurance binder or policy which excludes liability for a specified title defect or an outstanding lien or encumbrance.

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F
FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT

  • A federal law giving one the right to see his/her credit report so that errors may be corrected.  A lender refusing credit based on a credit report must inform the buyer which company issued the report.  The buyer may see the report without charge if refused credit.

FAIR MARKET VALUE

  • An appraisal term for the price which a property would bring in a competitive market given a willing seller and willing buyer, each of whom has a reasonable knowledge of all pertinent facts, with neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell.

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANKS

  • A system of 11 regional banks established by the Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 in order to keep a permanent supply of money available for home financing.

FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORPORATION (FHLMC, FREDDIE MAC)

  • An agency that purchases conventional mortgages in the secondary mortgage market from depository institutions and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved mortgage bankers.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA)

  • A division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Its main activity is the insuring of residential mortgage loans by private lenders.

FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION (FNMA, FANNIE MAE)

  • A tax paying corporation created by Congress to support the secondary mortgage market.  It purchases and sells residential mortgages insured by FHA or guaranteed by VA as well as conventional home mortgages.

FEE SIMPLE

  • An estate under which the owner owns a complete interest in the property and is entitle to the unrestricted use and enjoyment of the property including the right to dispose of the property.

FINANCE CHARGE

  • A total of all costs imposed directly or indirectly by the creditor and payable either directly or indirectly by the customer, as defined by the federal Truth-in-Lending laws.

FIRST MORTGAGE

  • A mortgage on property that is superior in right to any other mortgage.

FIXED RATE LOAN

  • A loan on which the same rate of interest is charged for the life of the loan.

FIXED RATE MORTGAGE

  • A mortgage having a rate of interest which remains the same for the life of the mortgage.

FIXTURE

  • Personal property which is permanently attached to real property, and, as such, becomes part of the real property.

FLOOD INSURANCE

  • Insurance indemnifying banks against loss by flood damage.  Required by lenders (usually banks) in areas designated (federally) as potential flood areas.  The insurance is private but federally subsidized.

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GINNIE MAE (GNMA)

  • Government National Mortgage Association.  A Federal Association, working with F.H.A., which offers special assistance in obtaining mortgages, and purchases mortgages in a secondary capacity.

GOOD FAITH

  • Having good intentions, such as a buyer putting a deposit for a house or when a lender discloses all information/costs to the loan.

GRANT DEED

  • One of the many types of deeds used to transfer real property.  Grantee – one to whom a grant is made, generally the buyer.  Grantor – one who grants property of property rights.

GRANTEE

  • One to whom a grant is made.  The purchaser of real property.

GRANTOR

  • One who has made a grant.  The seller of real property.

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H
HAZARD INSURANCE

  • Real Estate insurance protecting against loss caused by fire, natural causes, vandalism, etc., depending upon the terms of the policy

HIDDEN DEFECT

  • An encumbrance on a title that is not apparent in the public records; for example, unknown heirs, secret marriages and forged instruments.

HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATION

  • (1) An association of people who own homes in a given area, formed for the purpose of improving or maintaining the quality of the area.  (2) An Association formed by the builder of condominiums of planned developments, and required by statute in some states.  The builder’s participation as well as the duties of the association are controlled by statute.

HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE

  • Includes the coverage of Hazard Insurance plus added coverage such as personal liability, theft outside of the home (items stolen from the insured’s car), and other such coverage.

HOUSING STARTS

  • Number of houses on which construction has begun.  The figures are used to determine the availability, housing, need for real estate loans, need for labor and materials, etc.

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I
IMPOUND ACCOUNT

  • An account held by a lender for the payment of taxes, insurance or other periodic debts against real property.

INDEX

  • An index used to adjust the interest rate of an adjustable rate mortgage loan.  For example: the change in U.S. Treasury securities (T-bills) with a 1 year maturity.  The weekly average yield on securities, adjusted to a constant maturity of one year, which is the result of weekly sales, may be obtained weekly.  This change in interest rates is the “index” for the change in the specific adjustable rate mortgage.

INSTRUMENT

  • A legal document, such as a deed, mortgage, will, lease, etc.

INTEREST RATE

  • The percentage of an amount of money which is paid in order to borrow money for a specified amount of time.

INTEREST RATE CAP

  • The maximum interest rate increase of an adjustable rate loan.  For example: 6% loan with a 5% interest rate cap would have maximum interest for the life of the loan which would not exceed 11%.

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J
JOINT TENANCY

  • A means of ownership in which two or more persons own legal shares in real property.  Upon the death of one tenant, his/her share passes to the remaining tenant(s) until the title is vested in the last survivor.

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L
LATE CHARGE

  • A charge to the borrower for failure to pay an installment payment on time.

LEASE

  • An agreement by which an owner of real property gives the right of possession to another for a specified period of time and for a specified consideration (rent).  Title does not pass.

LEGAL DESCRIPTION

  • A description by which property can be definitely located by reference to surveys or recorded maps.

LIEN

  • A recorded document which claims an interest in real property as security to a debt owed.  Such liability may be created by contract, such as a deed of trust, or by court judgment.

LIS PENDENS

  • Legal notice that a lawsuit is pending.  Also called notice of action.

LOAN ORIGINATION FEE

  • A one-time setup fee charged by a lender.

LOAN PACKAGE

  • The file of all items necessary for the lender to decide to give or not to give a loan.  These items would include the information on the prospective borrower (loan application, credit report, financial statement, employment letters, etc.) and information on the property (appraisal, survey, etc.)

LOAN TO VALUE RATIO

  • The ratio of the mortgage loan’s principal to the property’s appraised value or its sales price, whichever is lower.

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MAINTENANCE RESERVE

  • Money reserved to cover anticipated maintenance costs.

MAKER

  • One who executes (signs) as the maker (borrower) of a note.

MARKET PRICE

  • The price a property brings in a given market.  Commonly used interchangeably with market value, although not truly the same.

MARKET VALUE

  • An appraisal term denoting the highest price that a buyer, willing but not compelled to buy, would pay and the lowest a seller, willing but not compelled to sell, would accept.

MARKETABILITY

  • Sale ability.  The probability of selling property at a specific time, price and terms.

MARKETABLE TITLE

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

MATERIAL FACT

  • A fact upon which an agreement is based, and without which, said agreement would not be made.

MATURITY

  • (1) Termination period of a note.  For example: A 30 year mortgage has a maturity of 30 years.

MECHANIC’S LIEN

  • A lien on real estate which secures the payment of debts due to person who perform labor or services or furnish materials incident to the construction of buildings and improvement on real estate.

METES AND BOUNDS

  • A form of land description in which boundaries are described by courses, directions, distances and monuments.

MOISTURE BARRIER

  • Insulating materials used to prevent the buildup of moisture (condensation) in walls and other parts of a building.

MORTGAGE

  • A legal document used to secure the performance of an obligation.

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.  The federal government writes this form of insurance through the FHA and VA.

MORTGAGOR

  • The party who borrows the money and gives the mortgage.

MULTIPLE LISTING

  • An exclusive listing, submitted to all members of an association, so that each may have an opportunity to sell the property.

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NOTARIZATION

  • The certification by a notary public that a person signing a document has been properly identified.  Notarization does not certify the content of a document, only validity of signature.

NOTE

  • A unilateral agreement containing an express and absolute promise of the signer to pay to a named person, or order, or bearer, a definite sum of money at a specified date or on demand.  It usually provides for interest and is generally secured by mortgage or trust deed.

NOTICE OF ACTION

  • A recorded notice that real property may be subject to a lien or even that the title is defective, due to pending litigation.  Notice of pending suit, also called “Lis Pendens.”

NOTICE OF CESSATION

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

NOTICE OF COMPLETION

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

NOTICE OF DEFAULT

  • A notice filed to show that the borrower under a mortgage or deed of trust is in default (behind on the payments).

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OFFER

  • A presentation or proposal for acceptance, in order to form a contract.  To be legally binding, an offer must be definite as to price and terms.

ORIGINATION FEE

  • A fee made by a lender for making a real estate loan.  Usually a percentage of the amount loaned, such as one percent.

OWNER OCCUPIED

  • Property physically occupied by the owner.

OWNERSHIP

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

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P
PAYMENT CAP

  • A maximum amount for a payment under an Adjustable Mortgage Loan, regardless of the increase in the interest rate.  If the payment is less than the interest alone, negative amortization is created.

PAYOFF

  • The payment in full of an existing loan or other lien.

PERFECTING TITLE

  • Process involving the elimination of any adverse claims against title.

PERSONAL PROPERTY

  • Any property which is not designated by law as real property.

PIGGYBACK LOAN

  • A loan made jointly by two or more lenders on the same property under one mortgage or trust deed.  One 90% loan, for example, any have one lender loaning 8-0% and another (subordinate) lender loaning the top 10% (high risk portion).

PITI (PRINCIPAL, INTEREST, TAXES & INSURANCE)

  • Refers to principal, interest, taxes and insurance, the four major components of a usual monthly mortgage payment.

PITI RATIO

  • The principal, interest, tax and insurance payment-to-income ratio.  Used in mortgage lending decisions.

POINTS

  • A fee charged by the lender to fund a loan, in addition to and separate from other fees charged.  One point equals one percent of the amount of the loan.

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.

PRELIMINARY TITLE REPORT

  • A report showing the condition of title before a sale or loan transaction.  After completion of the transaction, a title insurance policy is issued.

PREPAID ITEMS

  • Those expenses of property which are paid in advance and will usually be prorated upon sale, such as taxes, insurance, rent, etc.

PREPAYMENT PENALTY

  • A penalty under a note, mortgage, or deed of trust, imposed when the loan is paid before it is due.

PRINCIPAL

  • The sum of money outstanding upon which interest is payable.  Also refers to one who is served by an agent.

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE (PMI)

  • Insurance written by a private mortgage insurance company protecting the mortgage lender against loss occasioned by a mortgage default and foreclosure.

PROMISEE

  • One to whom a promise has been made, such as the lender under a promissory note.

PROMISOR

  • One who makes a promise.  The borrower under a promissory note.

PROMISSORY NOTE

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

PRORATION

  • The method used in dividing charges into that portion which applies only to a party’s ownership up to a particular date.

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 should be recorded.

PURCHASE AGREEMENT

  • An agreement between buyer and seller of real property, setting forth the price and terms of the sale.

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Q
QUALIFICATION

  • The process of reviewing a prospective borrower’s credit and payment capacity prior to approving a loan.

QUITCLAIM DEED

  • A deed relinquishing all interest, title or claim in a property by a grantor.  Accomplished without representing that such title is valid, nor containing any warranty or covenants of title.

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R
REAL ESTATE

  • (1) Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings, fences, and those things attached to the buildings, such as light fixtures, plumbing and heating fixtures, or other such items with would be personal property if not attached.  The term is generally synonymous with real property, although in some states a fine distinction may be made.  (2) May refer to rights in real property as well as the property itself.

REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT (RESPA)

  • A federal statute requiring disclosure of certain costs in the sale of residential, improved property which is to be financed by a federally insured lender.

RECONVEYANCE

  • The conveyance to the landowner of the title, held by a trustee under a deed of trust, when the performance of the debt is satisfied.

RECORDATION

  • Involves filing for record in the office of the county recorder for the purpose of giving constructive notice of title, claim or interest in real property.

RECORDING

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

RECORDING FEE

  • The amount paid to the recorder’s office in order to make a document a matter of public record.

RECORD OWNER

  • The owner of property as shown by an examination of the public record.

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP

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

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S
SALES CONTRACT

  • Another name for a sales agreement; purchase agreement, etc.

SECOND MORTGAGE

  • A mortgage which ranks after a first mortgage in priority.  Properties may have two, three, or more mortgages, deeds of trust, or land contracts, as liens at the same time.  Legal priority would determine whether they are called a first, second, third, etc. lien.

SEPTIC SYSTEM

  • A sewage system, whereby waste is drained through pipes and a tile field (a system of clay tiles and gravel) into a septic tank.  Found in areas where city or county sewers have not yet been installed.

SEPTIC TANK

  • An underground tank into which a sanitary sewer drains from a building.  The sewage is held until bacterial action changes the solids into liquids or gasses, which are then released in the ground.

SIMPLE INTEREST

  • Interest computed on principal alone, as opposed to compound interest.

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT

  • Lien assessed against real property by a public authority to pay costs of public improvements (sidewalks, sewers, street lights, etc…) which directly benefits the assessed property.

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

  • An action to compel the performance of a contract, when money damages for breach would not be satisfactory.

STATEMENT OF INFORMATION (SI)

  • Also called Statement of Identity, A confidential information statement completed by the buyer, seller and borrower in every transaction where a policy or policies of title insurance are requested.  Allows the title company to competently search documents affecting the property to be insured, documents which may not refer to said property.  Allows title companies to differentiate between parties with similar names when searching matters such as liens and court decrees.

STATUTE

  • A law which comes from a legislative body.  A written law, rather than law established by court cases.

“SUBJECT TO” CLAUSE

  • A clause in a contract of sale setting forth any contingencies or special conditions of purchase and sale, such as an offer made accepted subject to financing, securing certain zoning or similar requirements.

SUBORDINATE

  • To make subject to or junior to.

SUBORDINATION AGREEMENT

  • An agreement under which a prior or superior lien is made inferior or subject to an otherwise junior lien.

SUCCESSION

  • The passing of real property by will or inheritance, rather that by grant or deed or any other form of purchase.

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T
TAX LIEN

  • A statutory lien imposed against real property for nonpayment of taxes.

TENANCY IN COMMON

  • Co-ownership in a property by two or more persons, each of whom has an undivided interest in the whole property.

TITLE PLANT

  • The information warehouse of a title company in which it has accumulated, and is constantly updating title records of properties in its area which it can use to search title to real property.

TRUSTEE

  • A person who holds title in trust for the benefit of another.  In a deed of trust the trustee is the person named to hold title in trust for the benefit of the lender until the loan is paid off.

TRUSTOR

  • The borrower under a deed of trust.  One who deeds their property to a trustee as security for repayment of a loan.

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UNIFORM SETTLEMENT STATEMENT

  • The standard HUD Form 1 required to be given to the borrower, lender and seller at, or prior to, settlement.

UNMARKETABLE TITLE

  • Title which contains defects that would allow a purchaser to be released from his obligation to purchase.

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V
VESTING

  • Denoted the manner in which title is held.  Examples of common vesting are: Community Property, Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common.

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (VA)

  • VA has power and authority to guarantee or insure payment of loans made to veterans by private lending institutions.  This function is similar to that of FHA.  VA also makes direct loans to veterans in non-urban areas where private loans funds are not available.

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Terms and definitions were provided by Old Republic Title Company of Nevada, California Land Title Association & Fidelity National Title

 

Please contact Realty Expertise for further details about Real Estate Glossary via;
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