Real Estate Terms

Also known as “escrow” or “settlement.” The process of executing legally binding documents, such as deeds and mortgages, most commonly associated with the purchase of real estate and the borrowing of money to assist in the purchase.
Marketable Title
A title which enables an owner to sell his property freely to others and which others will accept without objection.
Title Insurance
Insurance that protects the lender (lender’s policy) or the buyer (owner’s policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.
Owner’s Policy
A policy of title insurance usually insuring an owner of real estate against loss occasioned by defects in, liens against or unmarketability of the owner’s title.
Deed of Trust
Like a mortgage, a security instrument whereby real property is given as security for a debt.
The determination of a court regarding the rights of parties in an action. Money judgments, when recorded, become a lien on the real property of the party whom the judgment is against.
Mechanics 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.
Financing Statement
A document filed with the Register of Deeds or Secretary of State securing the title to personal property.
Road Maintenance Agreement
Often entered into for roads that are are privately maintained, rather than maintained by a public body.
A right of way giving persons other than the owner access to or over a property.
Often called restrictive covenants. Provisions in a deed or other instrument whereby an owner of land prohibits or restricts certain use, occupation or improvement of the land.
The transfer of loan proceeds by individual check, master check, or electronic funds transfer (EFT) by a lender to a borrower, or an escrow agent.
1031 Tax Exchange
A way to defer capital gains taxes by exchanging one investment property for another.
A fiduciary relationship under which one holds property for the benefit of another.
Short Sale
The sale of real property where the fair market sale price is less than the loan balance.
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.
Power of Attorney
A legal document that authorizes another person to act on one’s behalf. A power of attorney can grant complete authority or can be limited to certain acts and/or certain periods of time.
Title Examination
A check of the title records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that there are no liens or other claims outstanding.
* Terminology is not intended as any form of legal advice. Should you have legal questions, seek the services of a legal counsel.