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[M-N] [O-S] [T-Z]
- A-C [top]
- Abstract of Title
- A concise statement of the substance of documents or facts appearing on the public land
records that affect the title to a particular tract.
- Action of offeree in agreeing to terms of an offer that results in a binding contract.
- Notary signature and seal; appears on deeds and some contracts as well as on wills.
- Male party responsible for the probate of an intestate estate.
- Female party responsible for the probate of an intestate estate.
- Adverse Possession
- Method of acquiring title to land by openly taking possession of and using
another's property for a certain period of time.
- Process of valuing property; what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller when
neither is forced to contact.
- Process of transferring contract rights to another; e.g., assignment of a mortgage or
- Process whereby a buyer of real property agrees to assume responsibility for payments on
an existing mortgage on the property.
- Process of creating a lien, security interest, or other creditor's interest in
property; results when the creditor has complied with all requirements.
- Bargain & Sale Deed
- Deed that transfers title but carries no warranties.
- A gift of personal property by will.
- Party who is licensed to handle property listings.
- Capital Gains
- The amount of net gain made on the sale of property.
- Citation (Cite)
- Legal shorthand for referring to cases, statutes, regulations and ordinances.
- In real property, an agreement in advance to loan a certain sum of money.
- The detriment given by each party to a contract; e.g. the land by the seller and the
money by the buyer.
- Contract for Deed
- Another name for an installment contract; financing transaction in which seller carries
the buyer and holds on to title until the buyer has paid in full.
- Form of multiunit housing in which a corporation owns the property and owners of the
shares in the corporation live in each of the units.
- Label given to ownership of property by more that one person.
- Form of doing business that provides limited liability to the owners, continuity of
operation and centralized management.
- Claim made by the Defendant against the Plaintiff in a lawsuit.
- Promise in a deed that affects or limits the use of the conveyed property.
- Right of a husband to a life estate in all real property owned by his wife during their
marriage provided they had children.
- Declaration of Condominium
- Master Deed for condominium project; the document recorded to reflect the units involved
on the real property.
- Instrument used to convey title to real property.
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
- Process of borrower-property owner surrendering title to property to prevent lender
- Deed of Trust
- Security interest in real property in which title is held by a trustee until the
borrower and occupant of the land repays the beneficiary (lender) in the amount of the
- Gift of real property by will.
- Rights of a wife to one-third interest in all real property owned by her husband during
the course of the marriage; wife must survive husband to be entitled to dower rights.
- Due Process
- Constitutional protection requiring full adjudication of issues and rights before
property may be taken.
- Right to use another's property for access, light, etc..
- Easement Appurtenant
- Easement that benefits a particular tract of land; generally an access easement or right
- Easement in Gross
- An easement that does not benefit a particular tract of land; e.g. utility easements
that run through all parcels of land in an area.
- Eminent Domain
- Process of governmental entity taking title to private property for public purposes.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Governmental agency responsible for the enforcement of environmental laws.
- Process whereby property of a decedent is given to the state because of no available
- Process whereby details of property transfer, payments, and deed conveyance are handled
by a third party.
- Male party responsible for the probate of a decedent's estate pursuant to the
- Executory Interest
- Future interest that is not a remainder and not an interest in the grantor.
- Female party responsible for the probate of a decedent's estate pursuant to the
- Term to refer to an inheritable interest in land.
- Fee simple
- Highest land interest; full title; right to convey or transfer by will or mortgage
- Fee simple absolute
- Another term for fee simple.
- Fee simple defeasible
- A fee simple estate that can be lost by violation of a condition or use restriction
placed in the transfer by the grantor.
- Fee simple determinable
- Full title to land so long as certain conduct is avoided; e.g., "To A so long as
the premises are never used for a bar."
- Fee simple subject to a condition subsequent
- Full title provided that there is compliance with a condition; e.g., "To A upon the
condition that the property is used for school purposes."
- Fee tail
- Full title restricted in its passage to direct descendants of the owner.
- Party in position of trust and confidence with another; agent or trustee.
- Financing Statement
- Document filed to protect a security interest; must contain information about the
parties and description of the collateral.
- Personal property that becomes attached to and is so closely associated with real
property that it becomes a part of the real property.
- Process of selling mortgaged property to satisfy the debt owed by the defaulting
- Loss of rights; in a contact for deed, the loss of all interest in the property for
- Estates uncertain or unlimited in their duration.
- Transfer of property without consideration with donative intent and by actual or
- Person to whom land is conveyed.
- Person conveying title to land.
- Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund
- Fund created under federal environmental laws; known as the Superfund for use in
clean-up of toxic waste.
- Persons entitled to a portion of a decedent's estate.
- Debtor protection that entitles the debtor to a certain amount in real property that is
exempt from attachment by creditors.
- Equitable remedy; court order requiring a party to perform an act or cease certain
conduct; e.g. to stop trespassing.
- Installment Land Contract
- A contract for deed; method of selling property in which the seller serves as the
financier for the buyer and the purchase; seller holds onto the title until there has been
payment in full under an installment payment plan.
- Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSFDA)
- Federal law regulating the sale of property across state lines; requires advance filing
of sales of minerals, mandatory disclosure of certain information, and prohibitions on
promises about the land's future development.
- Inter Vivos
- During the life; while alive; e.g., an inter vivos gift.
- Death without a will.
- Intestate succession
- Statutory method for distributing the property of those who die without a will
- Involuntary lien
- Lien that does not result from a contractual arrangement; e.g., a tax lien or a judicial
- Joint tenancy
- Method of co-ownership that gives title to the property to the last survivor.
- Agreement between the owner of land and another for the use and occupation of the land.
- Financing method that permits potential buyers to lease property for a period with an
option to buy.
- Gift of money by will.
- Revocable right to enter another's property.
- Interest in real property that serves as security for repayment of debt.
- Life Estate
- Interest in land that lasts for the life of the grantee.
- Life tenants
- Those who hold a life estate in property.
- Limited partnership
- A partnership with at least one general partner in which limited partners can purchase
interest and be held liable only to the extent of their interest and not risk personal
- Lis pendens
- "Suit or action pending"; document recorded with the land records to indicate
a suit involving the land is pending.
- Marketable Title
- Form of title generally required to be delivered at the sale of property; property is
free from liens and no defects in title other than those noted or agreed to.
- Master Deed
- In a condominium development, the document recorded to reflect the location of the
project and the individual units.
- Master Plan
- General plan for zoning.
- Mechanic's liens
- Liens placed on real property to secure the amount due to those who performed the work
or supplied materials for improvements or other projects on the land.
- Metes and bounds
- Method of land description that begins with a permanent object and then through
distances and directions describes the parcel of land.
- Lien on real property used to secure a debt.
- Lender, or party who holds the mortgage lien.
- Borrower, or party occupying land that is mortgaged.
- Mutual will
- Wills of parties that are reciprocal in their distribution; usually based on a contract
to make a will; generally enforceable.
- National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
- Permit system that requires EPA approval for water discharges.
- Negative Easement
- An easement that prohibits a property owner from doing something that affects the
property of another.
- Nonconforming use
- In zoned areas, a use that does not comply with the area's zoning but that existed
prior to the time the zoning was effective.
- Noncumulative classifications
- Method of zoning in which use in a particular area is limited to the zoned use; e.g.,
industrial zones cannot include residential buildings and apartment areas cannot include
- Nonfreehold estates
- Land interests that are limited and certain in their duration.
- Notice statute
- Form of recording statute that gives later bona fide purchasers priority in the case of
multiple purchases for the previous purchaser's failure to give notice by recording
- Initial communication in contract formation that, if accepted, results in the formation
of a contract.
- Open listing
- Listing that pays commission to whichever broker or salesperson sells the property;
permits the owner to list with more that one broker and be liable for only one commission.
- Right to purchase property during a certain period of time. This right is paid for with
- Laws passed on a local level of county, state or city governments.
- Per stirpes
- Method of distributing property to heirs whereby those closer in relation to the
decedent receive greater shares.
- Plat map
- Method of land description that relies on a recorded map of a subdivision, with each
deed making reference to the map and the particular lot being conveyed.
- Posthumous heirs
- Heirs born after the death of the decedent.
- The words of conveyance in a deed; e.g., "do hereby grant and convey."
- Prepayment penalty
- Clause in mortgage or promissory note that requires the mortgagor to pay an additional
charge for paying off the loan early.
- Process of acquiring an easement through adverse use of the easement over a required
period of time.
- Process of collecting the assets of a decedent; paying the decedent's debts,
determining the decedent's heirs, and distributing the property to the heirs.
- Promissory note
- Two-party debt instrument that, in real estate, is generally secured by a mortgage or a
deed of trust or some other interest in real estate.
- Purchase money mortgage
- A mortgage used to secure a debt for the funds used to buy the mortgaged property.
- A right-of-way as it existed when there was unity of ownership in a parcel of land.
- Quiet title action
- Court action brought to determine the true owner of a piece of land.
- Quitclaim deed
- Deed that serves to transfer title if the grantor has any such title; there are no
guarantees that the grantor has any title or good title.
- Real estate investment trust - form of real estate syndication in which investors hold
trust estates and enjoy profits of trust's real estate holdings.
- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act - federal statute regulating disclosure of closing
costs in advance and prohibiting kickbacks for referring customers to title companies.
- Process of placing a deed or other document on the public records to give notice of a
transaction or interest in land.
- Negotiating a new loan for real estate; generally done to obtain a lower rate or in the
case of a sale to allow the buyer to purchase the property.
- Regulation Z
- Truth in Lending - The Federal Reserve Board's regulations on disclosures in all
types of credit transactions.
- Future interests in someone other that the grantor; a remainder follows a life estate.
- Right to treat a contract as if it never existed; rescind contract rights; generally
appropriate in cases of fraud and misrepresentation.
- Future interest in grantor that results after life estate terminates and no remainder
interest was given.
- Right of Entry
- Future interest in grantor that results after the life estate terminates and no
remainder interest was given.
- Right of Redemption
- In mortgage foreclosures, the right of the mortgagor to redeem his or her property for
six months after the foreclosure sale by paying off the debts and costs of the
- Rule against perpetuities
- Rule that prohibits the control of estates from the grave; provides a cap on use
restrictions on contingent remainders and executory interests.
- Security deposit
- In a lease, the amount of money prepaid by the tenant to secure performance of a lease
and often provides the amount of liquidated damages if the tenant does not perform.
- Self-proving will
- A will that is acknowledged or notarized and thereby enjoys the presumption of validity.
- Servient estate or tenement
- Land through which an easement runs or which is subject to the easement.
- Sheriff's Deed
- Form of title given to a buyer at a mortgage foreclosure sale; carries no warranties.
- Soldier's and Sailor's Civil Relief Act
- A Federal law that provided time limitations on foreclosures involving those in active
- Special Warranty Deed
- Deed that provides warranty of title only for the period during which the grantor owned
- Specific performance
- Equitable remedy that requires a party to a contract to perform the contract promise or
- Statute of Frauds
- Statue dictating what types of contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. Contracts
concerning real estate must comply with the statute of frauds.
- Parcel of land developed with building lots, streets, homes, parks, etc...
- Arrangement in which a tenant leases rental property to another, and the tenant becomes
the landlord to the subtenant.
- Subordinate mortgage
- Mortgage with a lesser priority than a preexisting mortgage.
- One who stands as a guarantor for an obligation; as in payment or performance bond.
- Term used to describe the government action of using private property for public
- Tax Deed
- Form of title given in the event property is sold to satisfy taxes; carries no
- Tax lien
- Lien placed on property for amount of unpaid taxes.
- Tax sale
- Foreclosure sale on property for nonpayment of taxes.
- Tenancy by the entirety
- Form of co-ownership between a husband and wife; a joint tenancy. Husband and wife each
own the entire property.
- Tenancy in common
- Simplest form of co-ownership. Each owner owns their percentage of the property.
- Disposition by will.
- Time-sharing properties
- Form of multiunit housing in which owners own the unit for a limited period of time
during each year.
- Title abstract
- Summary of the history of title to a parcel of land.
- Title Insurance
- Insurance that pays the buyer of property in the event certain title defects arise.
- Title Theory
- Theory of mortgage law that puts title in the mortgagee and possession in the mortgagor.
- Torrens system
- System for recording land titles designed to prevent the selling of the same parcel of
land to more that one person.
- Tract Index
- Form of land record that keeps history of title through identifications within the
- Third party responsible for handling the property of another; as in deed of trust or
real estate investment trust.
- Uniform commercial code - uniform statute adopted in most states that governs commercial
transactions; Article IX deals with security interests and fixtures.
- Charging interest rates in excess of the statutory allowed maximums.
- Approved uses of land outside the scope of an area's zoning.
- Vested remainder
- A remainder that will automatically take effect when the life estate ends.
- Voluntary lien
- A lien created because of a contract as opposed to a tax lien, which is involuntary.
- Warranty Deed
- Deed that conveys title and carries warranties that the title is good, the transfer is
proper, and there are no liens and encumbrances other than the ones noted.
- Warranty of habitability
- Warranty given by landlords in residential leases that the premises are in good living
condition, and by builder of new homes that the homes are free of major defects.
- Document used to specify the transfer of property after the testator's death.
- Wrap-around mortgage
- Mortgage given to a seller wherein the buyer will make the amount of existing payments
on property to the seller along with payments on the amount of the selling price that is
in excess of the mortgage amount.
- Process of regulating land-use by designating areas of a community for certain uses.