ABSTRACT - An abbreviation of the cardinal aspects of all recorded deeds, mortgages, leases and other instruments affecting the title to a particular piece of land. ABSTRACTING - The process of making and compiling an abstract.
ABSTRACTER - The person or company engaged in making abstracts.
ADVERSE POSSESSION - The unauthorized occupation of land belonging to another, by a person who does not have the consent of the owner. Said occupier is said to hold possession adversely to the rights and interests of the owner. In most states, by operation of law, title to the land becomes vested in such occupier after a fixed number of years of peaceful occupancy.
ALL-INCLUSIVE RATE - When referring to title insurance, an all-inclusive rate is a rate that includes at least some part of the cost of researching the title or the cost of conducting the closing.
ALTA - American Land Title Association, the national trade association for the title insurance industry. ALTA is made up of title firms that conduct your closing and issue you an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance.
AMORTIZATION - This term has developed through French and Old English from the Latin words "mors" or "mort" meaning death or dead. It is the killing off of an existing debt by regular partial payments. The word "mortgage" is also derived from the same Latin root. APR - Annual Percentage Rate. The yearly interest percentage of a loan as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid.
APPRAISAL - An estimate of value of property from analysis of facts about the property; an opinion of value.
ATTORNEY'S OPINION - The written statement of an attorney setting forth what he believes to be the condition of a real estate title.
BASIC RATE - When referring to title insurance, the basic rate is the rate charged to a consumer who does not qualify for a reduced rate.
BROKER - One who acts as an agent for another in negotiating sales or purchases in return for a fee or commission.
BROKERAGE - A fee or commission paid to a broker.
CERTIFICATE OF TITLE - In areas where attorneys examine abstracts or chains of title, a written opinion, executed by the examining attorney stating that title is vested as stated in the abstract.
CHAIN OF TITLE - Beginning with a conveyance out of an original source of title such as a government, each succeeding deed, will or other medium which conveys and transfers the title to succeeding owners constitutes a link in the chain of title. The chain of title is the composite of all such links.
CLAIM - A right to assert, or the assertion of, a demand for payment of money due; or the surrender or delivery of possession of property or the recognition or some right. A demand for something as one's rightful due.
CLOSING - In some areas called a "settlement." The process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, leases and other required instruments are signed and/or delivered, an accounting between the parties is made, the money is disbursed, the papers are recorded, and all other details such as payment of outstanding liens and transfer of hazard insurance policies are attended to.
CLOSING STATEMENT - A summation, in the form of a balance sheet, made at a closing, showing the amounts of debits and credits to which each party to a real estate transaction is entitled.
CLOUD ON TITLE - An irregularity, possible claim, or encumbrance which, if valid, would adversely affect or impair the title.
COMMISSION - The amount due a real estate broker, mortgage loan broker, or real estate professional for services performed in such capacity.
CONDITIONS - This term is first cousin to restrictions and reservations. It refers to provisions in deeds and other real estate instruments which provisions make a particular right contingent upon the occurrence of some future event.
CONTRACT - Same as "agreement," but usually more formal.
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.
DEED - A written document by which title to real estate is conveyed from one party to another.
DEED BOOK - A book among the public records in which deeds are recorded.
DEFAULT - Failure to perform a promised task or to pay an obligation when due.
DEFECT - A blemish, imperfection or deficiency. A defective title is one that is irregular and faulty.