Bill Sells Fort Myers Beach Real Estate Hard work, long hours ! ! !
Bill Gillhespy

Real Estate terms, definitions, contract wording and legal phrases


Hi, and welcome to our collection of real estate terms, clauses and legal concepts.  This list will assist you in your understanding of all things real estate.  Feel free to email me with any questions you may have.  I will enlist the aid of our experienced agents to provide the best and most realistic answer available.  Enjoy !

ABANDONMENT - The voluntary surrender of property rights, with no intention of reclaiming them and without vesting interest in another person. Nonuse is not necessarily abandonment.

ABSTRACT - A history of the ownership of a property, showing transfers in ownership and factors affecting ownership, such as mortgages.

ACCELERATION CLAUSE - A clause in a promissory note, agreement of sale, or mortgage which gives the lender the right to call all sums due and payable in advance of the fixed payment date upon the occurrence of a specified event, such as a sale, default, assignment or further encumbrance of the property. Usually the payee has the option to accelerate the note upon default of payment of any installment when due, provided he gives adequate notice and specifies a time within which the defaulting party can cure the other breaches of provisions in the contract, such as failure to pay taxes and assessments, or failure to keep the property insured or in repair. The provision for acceleration must be expressly set forth in the mortgage or agreement of sale document, otherwise, the right does not exist. There should be a consistency between the acceleration provisions stated in the mortgage and those stated in the promissory note.

ACCEPTANCE - The expression of the intention of the person receiving an offer (offeree, usually the seller) to be bound by the terms of the offer. The acceptance must be communicated to the offeror and must be in writing to be enforceable. The buyer has the right to revoke the offer anytime before the seller's acceptance. 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT - A formal declaration made before an authorized official by a person executing a document, that he signs the document by a free act and deed. The official is usually a notary public who witnesses the signature and verifies the identity of the person. 

ACRE - A measure of land equaling 43,560 square feet; or 4,840 square yards; or 160 square rods; or a tract about 208.71 feet square. 

AD VALOREM TAX - A tax on the value of the object or thing subject to taxation. 

ADVERSE POSSESSION - Acquisition of title to real property owned by someone else, by open, notorious, and continuous possession for the statutory period of time. Burden to prove title is on the possessor, who does not have a marketable title until he obtains and records a judicial decree quieting title. No right of adverse possession may be obtained against the United States.

AFFIDAVIT - A written declaration, sworn before an officer who has authority to administer oaths.

AGREEMENT OF SALE - A written agreement whereby the purchaser agrees to buy certain real estate and the seller agrees to sell upon terms and conditions set forth in the agreement. 

ALIENATION - The voluntary transfer of real property from one person to another. 

ALLOTMENT - Authorization by the head of an agency to subordinates to incur financial obligations up to a specified amount. An agency makes allotments under the regulations in OMB Circular No. A-34, and not to exceed the amount allowed by OMB. 

AMENITIES - Tangible and intangible benefits generated and received through exercise of rights to real property, not necessarily in the form of money.

AMORTIZATION - Liquidation or gradual retirement of a financial obligation by periodic installments.

AMORTIZATION PERIOD - The period of time for economic recovery of the net investment in a project. This period is the lesser of 1) the period of time over which the plan can be expected to serve a useful purpose, or 2) the period of time when further discounting of beneficial and adverse effects will not appreciably influence design. 

ANNEXATION - The act of attaching, adding or joining one thing to another, generally a smaller or subordinate thing with a large or principal thing. Usually with respect to land or fixtures. 

APPRAISAL - A written estimate and opinion of value; a conclusion resulting from the analysis of facts.

APPRAISER - One qualified by education, training, and experience who is hired to estimate the value of real and personal property based upon experience, judgment, facts, and the use of the formal appraisal processes.

APPRECIATION - An increased conversion value of property or mediums of exchange due to economic or related causes which may prove to be either temporary or permanent. 

APPURTENANCE - Something annexed to another principal thing and which passes as incident to it, for example a right of way or barn passing with a principal property.

ASSESSED VALUATION An assessment of property values, by a unit of Government, for purposes of taxation.

ASSESSMENT - A charge against real estate made by a unit of government to cover a proportionate cost of an improvement, such as street or-sewer.

ASSETS - All valuable things owned by a person, corporation, or other entity, encumbered or not.

ASSIGNMENT (OF TEASE) - A transfer to another of rights, interest, or claim in or to real or personal property. The party who assigns or transfers his interest is the assignor, and the assignee is the one to whom the assignment is made.

ASSUMPTION OF MORTGAGE - The taking of title to property by a grantee wherein he assumes liability for payment of an existing note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust against the property. He becomes a co-guarantor for the payment of the mortgage or deed of trust along with the original maker of the note, who is not released from his responsibility.

ATTACHMENT - The legal process of seizing the real or personal property of a defendant in a law suit, by levy or judicial order, and holding it in the custody of the court as security for satisfaction of the judgment.

ATTORNEY IN FACT - A person authorized to perform certain acts for another person, under power of attorney. 

BALLOON PAYMENT - A final payment on a note. It is usually substantially larger than any of the preceding installments. 

BENEFICIARY - A person who receives and benefits from the gifts or acts of another, such as one who is designated to receive the proceeds from a will or trust.

BEQUEATH - To leave personal property to another by will. To leave real property by will is to devise.

BILL OF SALE - A written instrument transferring title, right, and interest in personal property to another.

BINDER - An agreement to cover an earnest money deposit for the purchase of real property as evidence of the purchaser's good faith and intention to complete the transaction.

BLANKET MORTGAGE - A single mortgage which covets more than one piece of real estate.

BREACH OF CONTRACT - Violation of any of the terms or conditions of a contract without legal excuse. 

BUNDLE OF RIGHTS - Beneficial interests or rights which attach to the ownership of real property, including the right to sell, lease, encumber, use, enjoy, exclude, will, etc. When purchasing real estate, one actually buys the rights previously held by the seller, except those which are reserved or limited in the sale. 

CAPITALIZATION - In appraising, determining value of property by considering net income and percentage of reasonable return on the investment.

CAPITALIZATION RATE - The percentage ratio between net income from investment and the value of the investment. Commonly expressed as "return on and return of" capital. 

CASH VALUE - The actual money that an Asset will bring on the open market without any lengthy delay.

CAVEAT EMPTOR - "Let the buyer beware" is Latin. Summarizes the rule that the buyer must examine, judge and test merchandise/property for himself. 

CERTIFICATE OF TITLE - A document stating that title to a particular property is clear. It is prepared by an attorney or qualified person who has examined the abstract of title, but is not to be confused with title insurance. It is only an opinion that title is good. Usually given to a homeowner with the deed.

CHATTEL - Personal property which is tangible and movable. (The word "chattel" evolved from the word "cattle", one of man's early important possessions.)

CIVIL ACTION - Legal action brought to enforce, redress or protect private rights. All proceedings except criminal proceedings.

CIVIL RIGHTS ASSURANCE - Assurance that no person will be discriminated against or excluded from operations, programs or activities on the basis of race, color, age, sex, religion, handicap or national origin.

CLEAR TITLE - A title free and clear of all encumbrances.

CLOSING STATEMENT - An accounting by a broker of funds in a real estate sale, made to the seller and to the buyer.

CLOUD ON TITLE - An outstanding claim or encumbrance which would affect or impair the owner's title, if valid. A judgment or dower interest. 

COLLATERAL HEIR - one who is not in the direct line of the deceased, but from a collateral line, as a brother/ sister, aunt/uncle, nephew/niece or cousin of the deceased.

COLLATERAL SECURITY - A separate obligation attached to a contract to guarantee its performance; the transfer of property or of other contracts or valuables, to ensure the performance of a principal agreement.

COLOR OF TITLE - The appearance of title (also called "apparent title"). Any fact, extraneous to the act or will of the claimant, which appears, on its face, to support his claim of title but, because of defect, falls short of establishing title.

COMMITMENT OF FUNDS - Reservation of funds prior to obligation for a specific purpose, based on an estimate.

COMMON ELEMENT - In a condominium, land and parts of buildings used by all owners for mutual convenience and safety. See CONDOMINIUM

COMMON EXPENSE - In a condominium, expenses of operation and sums declared by the bylaws to be common expense.

COMMUNITY PROPERTY - Property accumulated through joint efforts of husband and wife, or by either one, during their marriage and owned in common.

COMPARABLE - Properties listed in an appraisal report which are substantially equivalent to the subject property, comparable in selling price, rental, income or similar measure.

COMPENSABLE INTEREST - Interest of parties that is to be compensated. 

COMPOUND INTEREST - Interest paid both on the original principal and on interest accrued from the time it fell due.

CONCESSION - A privilege granted to an individual by the Government, to sell food, etc., on Government land.

CONDEMNATION - In real property law, the process by which property of a private owner is taken for public use, with just compensation to the owner. Condemnation occurs under the right of eminent domain.

CONDITION SUBSEQUENT - A condition which, if it occurs, will defeat an existing estate in real estate or terminate an existing obligation.

CONDITIONAL COMMITMENT - A commitment for a loan subject to one or more conditions.

CONDITIONAL SALE CONTRACT - A contract whereby the owner retains title to the property until the purchaser has met all of the terms and conditions of the contract.

CONDOMINIUM - Fee ownership of a unit in multi-unit building with joint ownership of common areas.

Condo/Hotel - Ownership of a condominium zoned for nightly rental.  Owner gets restricted usage in return for receiving a portion of the rental income ( 20- 50 % ). 

CONSIDERATION - An act or forbearance, or the promise thereof, which is offered by one party to induce another to enter into a contract; that which is given in exchange for something from another. Consideration is usually something of value, such as the purchase price in money, though it may be personal services or exchanged property. It is the price bargained for and paid for a promise. Thus, the mere promise to pay money is sufficient consideration and an earnest money deposit is not necessary for purposes of creating a binding contract. Even though the sales price is stated in the contract for real property, the actual consideration supports the contract is the mutual exchange of promises by buyer and seller to legally obligate themselves to do something they were not before legally required to do.

CONSTRUCTIVE EVICTION - Breach of a covenant of warranty or quiet enjoyment; for example, the inability of a purchaser or lessee to obtain possession by reason of a paramount outstanding title. An act by the landlord which deprives the tenant of the beneficial use and occupancy of the premises devised.

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE - Often called legal notice, the conclusive presumption that all persons have knowledge of the contents of a recorded instrument.

CONTRACT - An agreement, either oral or written to do or not to do certain things. In real estate, there are many different types of contracts, including listings, contracts of sale, options, mortgages, assignments, leases, deeds, escrow agreements, and loan commitments, among others.

CONTRACT RENT - Payment for use of property, as specified in a lease.

CONVENTIONAL MORTGAGE - A mortgage on real estate securing a loan made by a private investor, not guaranteed by a Government agency such as FHA or VA.

CONVEYANCE - The transfer of title to real property by means of a written instrument, such as a deed. 

COST OF REPRODUCTION - The normal cost of exact duplication of a property with the same or closely similar materials as of a certain date or period.

COVENANT - A written agreement in a deed which pledges that either party will perform or abstain from specified acts on a certain property, or which specifies or forbids certain uses of the property.

CURTESY - The common law life estate of a husband to land his wife possessed in fee at her death. This interest has been abrogated as modified by statute in many states.

DEBT SERVICE - Periodic payment on a debt, for interest on and retirement of the principal.

DEED - A legal instrument in writing, duly executed, sealed, and delivered, whereby the owner of real property (grantor) conveys to another (grantee) some right, title, or interest in real estate.

DEED RESTRICTION - A provision in a deed controlling or limiting the use of the land.

DEFAULT - Failure to perform a specific, required legal duty.

DEFERRED MAINTENANCE - Existing but unfulfilled requirements for repairs and rehabilitation, deferred until a later date.

DEFICIENCY JUDGMENT - At a foreclosure sale, the difference between the indebtedness sued upon and the sale price or market value of the real estate. See also DEFICIENCY PAYMENT.

DEFICIENCY PAYMENT - Additional compensation required in a final judgment in condemnation proceedings. See also DEFICIENCY JUDGMENT.

DEPRECIATION - (1) A lowering of value. A reduction; lessening. The decline in value of property. Loss in market value. Deterioration over a period of time. The opposite of appreciation. (2) In appraising, depreciation is the reduction on value of a property as measured from the cost to replace it. It is the difference between the replacement cost and the market value. (3) In accounting, it is a write-off (usually annually) of a portion of an asset on the records. 

DETERIORATION - Impairment of condition. One of the causes of depreciation and reflecting the loss in value brought about by wear and tear, disintegration, use in service, and the action of the elements.

DISCOUNT - (1) That which can be taken off the established amount. Mortgages, for example, are frequently discounted when paid in advance of maturity. (2) A sum paid to obtain certain preferred mortgages, as the payment of points to a lending institution for FHA and VA mortgages.

DURESS - Forcing action or inaction against a person's will.

EASEMENT - A privilege or right which the owner of one parcel of land may have to use or enjoy the lands of another, i.e., a right-of-way.

EASEMENT APPURTENANT - An easement which is attached to, accompanies, and passes with a greater interest; it has no existence apart from the superior interest. Also called PERTAINING EASEMENT.

EARNEST MONEY - The cash deposit made by a purchaser of real estate as evidence of good faith. 

EFFECTIVE AGE - Age in years, indicated by the condition and utility of a structure.

ELEVATION - Surveying: The distance above or below a datum. Architecture: A sketch of the front or side of a building. 

EMINENT DOMAIN - The right of the government, both state and federal, to take private property for a necessary public use, with just compensation paid to the owner. Through eminent domain, the state may acquire land (either fee, leasehold, or easement) for streets, parks, public buildings, public rights-of-way, and the like. The state may delegate the power of eminent domain to local governments and to public corporations and associations such as school districts. No private property is exempt from this exercise of government power.

ENCROACHMENT - Trespass; the building of a structure or any improvements partly or wholly intruding upon the property of another.

ENCUMBRANCE - Any claim, lien, charge or liability attached to and binding upon real property which may lessen the value of the property but will not necessarily prevent transfer of title. There are two general classifications of encumbrances: (1) those that affect the title, such as judgments, mortgages, mechanic's liens and other liens which are charges on property used to secure a debt or obligation; and (2) those that affect the physical condition of the property such as restrictions, encroachments, and easements.

EQUITY - In real estate, the interest or value of the real estate over and above the amount of the indebtedness thereon.

EQUITY OF REDEMPTION - Also known as Statutory Redemption or Redemption. The right of the mortgagor, before a foreclosure sale, to reclaim property which has been forfeited due to mortgage default. The mortgagor can redeem the property by paying the full debt, plus interest and cost. Takes place in Title Theory states. 

ESCALATION CLAUSE - A clause in a lease which causes a rent increase, contingent on a specific action.

ESCHEAT - The reverting of property to the state by reason of failure of person legally entitled to hold or when heirs capable of inheriting are lacking.

ESCROW - In real estate, it is the state or condition of a deed which is conditionally held by a third party, called the escrow agent, pending the performance or fulfillment of some act or condition.

ESCROW AGREEMENT - A written agreement between two or more parties whereby the grantor, promisor or obligor, delivers certain instruments or property into the hands of a third party, the escrow agent, to be held by said third party until the happening of a contingency or performance of a condition, and then to be delivered to the grantee, promisee, or obligee.

ESTATE - In real estate it refers to the degree, quantity, nature, and extent of interest which a person has in real property, such as a fee simple absolute estate, an estate for years.

ESTATE FOR LIFE - A freehold estate, not of inheritance, but which is held by the tenant for his own life or the life or lives of one or more other persons, or for an indefinite period that may extend for the life or lives of persons in being, and beyond the period of life.

ESTOPPEL - A legal doctrine which prevents one from asserting rights that are inconsistent with a previous position or representation. 

ET AL. - Abbreviation for et alii, Latin meaning and others.

EVICTION - Dispossession by process of law; the act of depriving a person of the possession of lands he has held pursuant to a judgment of the court.

EXCHANGE - Disposal of any real interest by exchanging it for another real interest of equal value instead of cash.

EXECUTOR - An individual or institution designated in a will and appointed by a court to settle the estate of the testator. 

FAIR MARKET VALUE - Legal term synonymous with MARKET VALUE.

FEE - When applied to property, an inheritable estate in land.

FEE SIMPLE - The most comprehensive ownership of real property known to law; the largest bundle of ownership rights possible in real estate. Fee simple title is sometimes referred to as "the fee". 

FIRST MORTGAGE - The mortgage on property that is superior in right to any other mortgage.

FIXTURE - A chattel which is affixed to and becomes a part of real property.

FORECLOSURE - Procedure whereby property pledged as security for a debt is sold to pay the debt in event of default in payments or terms. 

FORFEIT - Loss of money, property, or the right to property by failure to act or by negligent or improper action. Property lost is called a forfeiture.

FRAUD - The intentional perversion of truth to deceive another person, whereby that person acts upon it to his legal injury.

FREEHOLD - An estate in fee simple or for life.

FRONT FOOT - One foot along the street frontage of a property. 

GENERAL LIEN - A lien which attaches to all property owned by the debtor.

GENERAL WARRANTY - A covenant in the deed whereby the grantor agrees to protect the grantee against the world. 

GRANT - The act of conveying or transferring real property, the operative words in a conveyance of real estate are to "grant, bargain, and sell". The grantor (the person who conveys the real estate) delivers the grant, in the form of a deed, to the grantee.

GRANTEE - Entity to whom a grant is made, or to whom real estate is conveyed. The buyer.

GRANTOR - Entity who makes a grant, conveys real estate by deed. The seller.

GROSS INCOME - The projected annual income from operation of a business or from management of a property.

GROUND LEASE - A lease to use land for a stated period; may be secured by improvements which the tenant will provide.

HABENDUM CLAUSE - The "to have and to hold" clause which defines or limits the quantity of the estate granted in the pre of the deed.

HECTARE - A metric surface measure: 10,000 square meters or 2.471 acres. 

HIGH WATERLINE - The line of high water at ordinary tides. 

HOME STEAD - A home that is used as a personal residence. where there is homestead protection, the homeowner generally files a homestead declaration with the county recorder, setting forth his marital status, describing the land and estimating the value of the homestead. The homestead is then exempt from creditor's claims up to the statutory amount.

IMPROVEMENTS - An addition to land which costs labor or capital (buildings, pavements, etc.), more or less permanently attached. More than repair or replacement.

INCOME PROPERTY - Property owned or purchased primarily for the monetary return it will bring. It may be classified as commercial, industrial, or residential.

INDEMNIFY - To protect against or keep free from loss/ damage. To insure. To repay for loss/damage. To compensate for loss, reimburse. 

INSTALLMENT CONTRACT - Purchase of real estate upon an installment basis; upon default, payments are forfeited. Often called a LAND CONTRACT, the deed to the property is not given to the purchaser until either all or a certain portion of the purchase price has been paid.

INSTRUMENT - A written legal document created to effect the rights of the parties.

INTEREST RATE - The rate of return on an investment, specifically, the rate charged on borrowed money.

INTESTATE - A person who dies having made no will, or one defective in form; in which case, his estate descends to his heirs at law or next of kin.

INVOLUNTARY LEN - A lien imposed against property without consent of the owner; example: special assessments and Federal income tax.

JOINT AND SEVERAL - An obligation which binds two or more persons individually and jointly. This type of obligation can be enforced by joint action against all or separate actions against one or more.

JOINT TENANCY - Co-ownership of real property by two or more persons, whereby the joint tenancy have equal interest, accruing by the same conveyance, commencing at the same time, and held by equal and undivided possession. Joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship, by which interest of a deceased tenant passes to survivors.

JUDGMENT - The final determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties in an action, as decreed by a court.

JUNIOR LIEN - A lien placed upon property after a previous lien has been made and recorded. 

JUST COMPENSATION - Market value paid for real estate taken in a condemnation action. 

LANDLORD - One who rents property to others.

LEASE - A written document by which the owner transfers the rights of use and occupancy of land and/or structures to another person or entity for a specified period of time in return for a specified rental.

LEASEHOLD - The interest or estate which a lessee has in real property by virtue of his lease.

LEGAL DESCRIPTION - A statement containing a designation by which land is identified according to a system set up by law or approved by law.

LESSEE - A person/entity to whom property is rented under terms of a lease.

LESSER INTERESTS - Interest in land that is less than fee.

LESSOR - A person who rents property under a lease; the landlord.

LIABILITY - Any drawback, debt, or obligation. Something that acts as a disadvantage. An obligation or duty that must be performed. The opposite of asset.

LICENSE - Authority to enter or use another person's land or property, without possessing estate in it; revocable. Would otherwise constitute a trespass.

LIEN - A hold or claim which one person has upon the property of another as a security for some debt or charge. 

LIS PENDENS - A public notice, filed against specific lands, that an action at law is pending that may affect the title to the land.

LITTORAL RIGHTS - The right of an owner of land with a shoreline contiguous to a sea or lake to use and enjoy the shore without a change in its position created by artificial interference; as distinguished from riparian rights and water rights.

MAJOR CONCESSION - A commercial concession entirely on project land with gross fixed assets or annual gross income over $150,000. See also, COMMERCIAL CONCESSION, MINOR CONCESSION, MIXED CONCESSION.

MARKET PRICE - The price paid regardless of pressures, motives, or intelligence.

MARKET VALUE - The price at which a willing seller would sell and a willing buyer would buy, neither being under abnormal pressure.

MARKETABLE OR MERCHANTABLE TITLE A title which is free from reasonable doubt of defect which can be readily sold or mortgaged to a reasonably prudent purchaser or mortgagee; a title free from material defects or grave doubts and reasonably free from possible litigation.

MECHANICS LIEN - A statutory lien to secure payment to materialmen and mechanics for materials and services used to repair, improve, or maintain real property.

MEETING OF MINDS - A mutual intention of two persons to enter into a contract affecting their legal status based on agreed-upon terms. One of the essential elements of a contract whereby the parties consent to be bound by the exact terms of the contract.

MINERAL RIGHTS - The right to extract minerals from land. Does not include right to use the surface of the land to conduct mineral extraction. This must be obtained from the surface owner. 

MORTGAGE - A legal instrument pledging a described property for repayment of a loan under certain terms.

MORTGAGE BROKER - An individual or firm that makes mortgage loans on its own behalf, with its own funds, usually expecting to re-sell the loans to lenders at a profit.

MORTGAGEE - one to whom a mortgage is made; the lender.

MORTGAGOR - One who makes a mortgage, the borrower.

NATURAL RESOURCES - Viable and/or renewable products of nature; natural environments of soil, air and water; plants and animals on grasslands, rangelands, croplands, forest, lakes, and streams.

NAVIGATION SERVITUDE - Public right of navigation for the use of the people at large.

NEGOTIABLE - A promissory note, or similar instrument, is said to be negotiable if title to the instrument, and the money it represents, can be transferred by mere endorsement and delivery by the holder, or by delivery only.

NET INCOME - in general, synonymous with net earnings, but considered a broader and better term; the balance remaining, after deducting from the gross income all operating expenses, maintenance, taxes, and losses pertaining to operating properties excepting interest or other financial charges on borrowed or other capital.

NET LEASE - A lease agreement whereby the lessee pays all property charges (taxes, insurance, maintenance) in addition to rent. Local market customs and terms vary, in some areas, "net, net" and "net, net, net" are used.

NOTE - A written instrument acknowledging a debt and promising payment.

NOTICE TO QUIT - A written notice from a landlord to a tenant that the tenant must vacate the premises at the end of the term or immediately, if the lease is at will.

OBLIGATION - Legal reservation of funds based on known requirements (a contract, for example), or an a realistic estimate of costs.

OBLIGOR - One who places himself under a legal obligation to an obligee.

OBSOLESCENCE - As applied to real estate it is the loss of value due to structural, economic, or social changes becoming outmoded.

OFFER - A promise by one party to act in a certain manner provided the other party will act in the manner requested. The offeror is the one who makes the offer to the offeree.

OPEN-END MORTGAGE - A mortgage containing a clause that permits the mortgagor to borrow money after the loan has been reduced without rewriting the mortgage.

OPTION - A privilege, acquired for a consideration, of demanding within a specified time the carrying out of a transaction upon stipulated terms. The optionor grants an option to an optionee. 

OUTSTANDING RIGHTS - Encumbrances, obligations, or liens on property. The Government may take such property subject to the outstanding rights or may eliminate them.

OVER-IMPROVEMENT - An improvement to land that is more extensive or costly than needed. As an example, the erection of a thirty-story office building where fifteen would have been adequate for the present and foreseeable future needs of the business community. The resulting empty space provides no return to the owner. The market value of the property, as well as the surrounding land, is correspondingly lessened. Also called a misplaced improvement.

OWNER IN EQUITY - owner is responsible for repairing or replacing improvements to the property that are damaged (i.e., loss by fire, damages due to flood, etc.). 

PARTIAL TAKING - Taking of part of a property for public use, under power of eminent domain. Compensation must be paid, considering damages and/or special benefits to the remainder property.

PARTITION - The dividing of common interests in real property owned jointly by two or more persons. It sometimes happens that one of several tenants in common or joint tenants desires to sell the property while the other tenants think it best to hold on to the investment. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, an action in partition is often the solution. The main purpose is to provide a means by which people, fording themselves in an unwarranted common relationship, can free themselves from the relationship. 

PERMANENT CONSTRUCTION - A building suitable and appropriate to serve a specified purpose for at least 25 years with a minimum of maintenance.

PERMIT - A privilege, revocable at will, granted to another Federal agency to use real property for a specific purposes; confers no possessory interest.

PERSONAL PROPERTY - All physical objects of a personal or movable nature subject to ownership, except real estate (real property). See also PROPERTY and REAL PROPERTY.

PLAT - Map of town, section, or subdivision, showing location and boundaries of individual properties.

PLOT - A piece of land.

POINT - A measure for charges on a loan amounting to one percent of the loan. One point is therefore one percent of the subject loan. 

POWER OF ATTORNEY - An instrument authorizing someone to act as another person's agent or attorney. The agent is attorney in fact, and his power is revoked at the death of the principal by operation of law. Power of attorney may be general or special.

PREPAYMENT PENALTY - Penalty for the payment of a mortgage or deed of trust note before it actually becomes due.

PRICE - The amount paid in legal tender, goods, or services; the consideration; purchase price. The terms for which a thing is done.

PRINCIPAL - Amount of a loan balance. In a mortgage payment of principal and interest, the principal repays the loan. 

PROPERTY - The rights or interests a person has in the thing he owns; not, in the technical sense, the thing itself. These rights include the right to possess, to use, to encumber, to transfer and to exclude, commonly called the bundle of rights. In modern understanding, however, property has come to mean the thing itself to which certain ownership rights are attached. Property is either real or personal.

PROPRIETARY INTEREST - Rights of the Federal Government as property owner in a state. Rights conferred by virtue of ownership.

PUBLIC DOMAIN LANDS - Land or interest in land owned by the United States and administered by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management, without regard to how the land was acquired, except for the Outer Continental Shelf and lands held for the benefit of Indians, Aleuts, Eskimos. Also known as public lands.

PURCHASE MONEY MORTGAGE - A mortgage given by the grantee to the grantor, on the same land and concurrently with the conveyance, to secure the unpaid balance of the purchase price. 

QUIET ENJOYMENT - A right, granted by covenant in a deed or lease, of a grantee or tenant to enjoy possession of the premises without interference.

QUIET TITLE - Court action brought to establish title and to remove a cloud on the title.

QUITCLAIM DEED - A deed of conveyance with conveys to the grantee without warranty of title whatever interest, title, or claim the grantor possesses. 


REAL PROPERTY - Land and anything built on, growing on, or affixed to land. See also PROPERTY, PERSONAL PROPERTY.

REALTY - A term sometimes used as a collective noun for real property or real estate.

RESCISSION OF CONTRACTS - The abrogating or annulling of contracts. the revocation or repealing of a contract by mutual consent by parties to the contract, or for cause by either party to the contract. 

REDEMPTION - The right to redeem property during the foreclosure period; the right of an owner to redeem his property after a sale for taxes. Often referred to as Equity of Redemption.

RELATED FURNISHINGS - Property which is not fixed to or part of a building: furniture, furnishings, equipment.

RELEASE - The discharge or relinquishment of a right, claim or privilege. Since a formal release is a contract relieving a person from any further legal obligation, it must contain a valuable consideration.

RELEASE OF LIEN - The discharge of certain property from the lien of a judgment, mortgage, or claim. 

REMAINDER - An estate which vests after the termination of the prior estate, such as a life estate. It is created at the same time and by the same instrument as another estate and limited to arise immediately upon the termination of the other estate.

RENT - A compensation, either in money, provisions, chattels, or labor, received by the owner of real estate from the occupant.

REPLACEMENT COSTS - Cost of a building with equivalent utility but with modern materials and eliminating deficiencies of the building it replaces.

REPRODUCTION COSTS - Cost of building an exact duplicate of a structure, including deficiencies.

RESERVATION - A right reserved by an owner in the grant (sale or lease) of a property.

RESIDUAL ESTATE - That which remains of a testator's estate after deducting the debts, bequests, and devises.

RESTRICTION - A limitation upon the use or occupancy of real estate, placed by covenant in deeds or by public legislative action.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT - A clause in a deed limiting the use to which the property may be put.

REVERSIONARY INTEREST - The interest that a person has in lands or other property upon the termination of the preceding estate.

REVOCATION - The recall of a power or authority conferred, or the vacating of an instrument previously made.

RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP - The distinctive characteristic of a joint tenancy (also tenancy by the entirety) by which the surviving joint tenants) succeeds to all right, title, and interest of the deceased joint tenant without the need for probate proceedings.

RIGHT-OF-ENTRY - A written instrument, binding on all parties, which provides authority to enter on certain premises to perform specified acts, without acquiring any estate or interest in the property.

RIGHT-OF-WAY - The right or privilege, acquired through accepted usage or by contract, to pass over a designated portion of the property of another. A right-of-way may be private, as in an access easement given a neighbor, or public, as in the right-of-way to use the highways and streets. 

RIPARIAN OWNER - One who owns land bounding upon a river or water course.

RIPARIAN RIGHTS - The right of a landowner to water on, under, or adjacent to his land, for general purposes, wharfing, and access to navigable waters. The rights of an owner of land on the bank of a stream or river.

SALE-LEASEBACK - A situation where the owner of a piece of property wishes to sell the property and retain occupancy by leasing it from the buyer.

SALES CONTRACT - A contract by which buyer and seller agree to the terms of the sale.

SATISFACTION OF MORTGAGE - An instrument for recording and acknowledging payment for an indebtedness secured by a mortgage.

SECONDARY FINANCING - A loan secured by a second mortgage or trust deed on real property.

SECTION - As used in the Government Survey System, a section of land is an area one mile square, containing 640 acres. It is 1/36th of a township.

SECURITY INTEREST - An interest in personal property or fixtures, obtained to ensure payment owed as performance of an obligation. 

SEPARATE PROPERTY - Property owned by a husband or wife which is not community property; property acquired by either spouse prior to marriage or by gift or devise after marriage.

SERVITUDE - A charge or burden on one estate to the benefit or advantage of another.

SEVERALITY OWNERSHIP - Sole ownership. Owned by one person only.

SEVERANCE DAMAGES - Payment to an owner for diminution in the value of a remainder area in a partial acquisition, caused by the acquisition (severance) or by construction of improvements.

SINKING FUND - A fund in which equal monthly or annual deposits, with compound interest, accumulate to a predetermined amount at a calculated time, for the purposes of paying a debt or replacing improvements.

SITE - A parcel of land, sufficiently improved to be used as a building lot or for other purposes requiring an improved site.

SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED - A deed in which the grantor warrants or guarantees the title only against defects arising during his ownership of the property and not against defects existing before the time of his ownership.

SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE - A remedy which the court will grant, in certain cases, compelling the defendant to perform or carry out the terms of a valid, existing agreement or contract.

STATUTE OF FRAUDS - State law which provides that certain contracts must be in writing to be enforceable contracts for real estate are included in this class of contract.

SUBDIVISION - Any land which is divided or is proposed to be divided for the purpose of disposition into two or more lots, parcels, units, or interests.

SUBJECT TO MORTGAGE - The taking of title to Property by a grantee, wherein he is not responsible to the holder of the promissory note for the payment of any portion of the amount due. In the event of foreclosure, the most that he can lose is his equity in the property. The original maker of the note is not released from his responsibility.

SUBLETTING - A leasing by one tenant to another, who holds the right of use and occupancy subject to the original lease; the sublessee. 

SUBORDINATION CLAUSE - A clause in a mortgage or lease stating that rights of the holder shall be secondary or subordinate to a subsequent encumbrance.

SUBROGATION - Replacing one person with another in regard to a legal right, interest, or obligation. Substitution, such as a mortgage holder's selling his rights and interest to another.

SURETY - One who guarantees the performance of another; the guarantor.

SURRENDER - The cancellation of a lease by mutual consent of lessor and lessee.

SURVEY - The act by which the quantity and boundaries of a piece of land are ascertained; the paper containing a statement of the courses, distance, and quantity of land is also called a survey. 

 TAX DEED - A deed given where property has been purchased at a sale to the public of property for nonpayment of taxes.

TAX LIEN - A government claim for unpaid real estate tax.

TAX SALE - A sale of property, usually at auction, for nonpayment of taxes assessed against it.

TENANCY IN COMMON - Co-ownership of real property by two or more persons, each entitled to possession according to his proportionate share. Unlike joint tenancy, there is no right of survivorship. See also JOINT TENANCY, TENANCY BY ENTIRETY, RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP.

TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY - Joint ownership by husband and wife, created by conveyance to husband and wife, who possess the property jointly. The property goes entirely to the survivor and is liable only for joint debts of husband and wife, not individual debts. Divorce severs the tenancy. See also JOINT TENANCY, TENANCY IN COMMON RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP.

TENANT - One who holds or possesses land or tenements by any kind of title, either in fee, for 'life, for years, or at will. In a popular sense, the one who has temporary use and occupation of lands or tenements which belong to another, the duration and other terms of whose occupations are usually defined by a lease, while the parties thereto are placed in the relationship of landlord and tenant.

TENANT AT SUFFERANCE - One who comes into possession of lands by lawful title but keeps them afterwards without any title, after his interest has ended.

TENANT AT WILL - A license to use or occupy lands and tenements at the will of owner, but for no fixed term. The tenancy can be terminated at will by the owner.

TERM - The extent of time for which an estate is granted. For example, the period which is granted for the lessee to occupy the premises; it does not include the time between making the lease and the tenant's entry.

TERMINATION - End of a lease or contract, usually before the anticipated time; termination may be by mutual agreement or by exercise of one party of a legal remedy due to default of the other party.

TERMINATION FOR CAUSE - Termination of an outgrant because of the lessee's violation of a condition of the grant.

TERMINATION AT WILL - Termination of an outgrant at will by the lessor. All Army outgrants may be terminated at will.

TESTATE - The condition of one who leaves a valid will at their death.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE - One of the essential requirements to the forming of binding contract; it contemplates a punctual performance.

TITLE - The right to or ownership of lands. Also, the evidence of ownership. Title to property encompasses all the bundle of rights an owner possesses.

TITLE INSURANCE - Indemnity against loss or damage resulting from defects in or liens on a title at the date of the insurance.

TOWNSHIP - A territorial subdivision, six miles long, six miles wide, and containing thirty-six sections, each one mile square.

TRACT I OWNERSHIP DATA - A historical record of a particular tract of land, confirmed by the owner or someone familiar with the land and recorded on ENG Form 900.

TRANSFER - Change of jurisdiction over real property from one Federal agency or department to another, including military departments and defense agencies.

TRUST DEED OR DEED OF TRUST - A deed conveying land to a trustee as collateral security for the payment of a debt; upon payment of a debt secured thereby, the deed of trust is released; upon default, the trustee has the power to sell the land and pay the debt.

TRUSTEE - One why holds property in trust for another to secure the performance of an obligation.

UNDUE INFLUENCE - Taking any fraudulent or unfair advantage of another's weakness in mind, distress, or necessity.

USURY - On a loan, claiming a rate of interest greater than that permitted by law. 

VACATED PREMISES - Property from which all military personnel and missions have been vacated.

VALID - Having force, or binding force; legally sufficient and authorized by law.

VALUATION - The act or process of estimating value; the amount of estimated value.

VALUE - Ability to command goods, including money, in exchange; the quantity of goods, including money, which should be commanded or received in exchange for the thing valued; utility; desirability. As applied to a property value may be broadly defined as "the present worth of all the rights to future benefits arising from ownership".

VENDEE - A purchaser; a buyer; the person to whom a thing is rendered or sold.

VENDOR - The person who transfers Property by sale.

VOID - That which is unenforceable; having no force or effect.

VOIDABLE - That which is capable of being adjudged void but is not void unless action is taken to make it so.

VOLUNTARY LIEN - Any lien placed upon property with consent of, or as a result of, the voluntary act of the owner.

WAIVER - The renunciation, abandonment, or surrender of a right, claim, or privilege.

WARRANTY DEED - A deed that contains a covenant that the grantor will protect the grantee against any claimant.

WATERLINE - High waterline is the point on the shore to which the tide normally rises; varies. Low waterline is the lowest point of tide, from which the tide does not ebb; varies.

WETLANDS - Land areas that are inundated by surface or ground water with sufficient frequency to support vegetable or animal life that requires hydric soils for growth and reproduction.

ZONING - The public regulation, through police power, of the character and extent of real estate use. Uniform restrictions on improvements, building height, density of population, and other factors regulate the use and development of private property.

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