TERMS &

DEFINITIONS


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  • ABSTRACT OF TITLE:  Condensed history of a title to a particular parcel of real estate.

  • ATTORNEY OPINION OF TITLE:  An opinion generated by an attorney after review of abstract of title.

  • CHAIN OF TITLE:  The conveyance of real property to one owner from another, reaching back to the original grantor.

  • CONVEYANCE:  The transfer of title of land from one to another. The means or medium by which title to real estate is transferred.

  • CURATIVES:  Documents or evidence to clear defects that appear in an abstract of title.

  • DEED:  A legal instrument in writing which passes, or affirms or confirms something which passes, an interest, right, or property and that is signed, attested, delivered, and in some jurisdictions sealed. It is commonly associated with transferring title to property.

BARGAIN & SALE DEED:  A deed "conveying real property without covenants". This is a deed "for which the grantor implies to have or have had an interest in the property but offers no warranties of title to the grantee. This type of deed is typically used in many states to transfer title." Under common law, this type of deed technically created a use (law) in the buyer who then gets title. Under the Statute of uses, modern real property law disregards this subtle distinction. A bargain and sale deed is especially used by local governments, fiduciaries such as executors, and in foreclosure sales by sheriffs and referees. The fact that it comes without any warranties from the government means that the new owner may not have good title. However, if the city did not have good title, then the new landowner may seek a remedy against the local government. Some states require a specific form to be used. Some states also allow a grantor (or seller) to add warranties. In such case, it may be called a bargain and sale with covenants deed.

QUIT CLAIM DEED:  A legal document by which a person releases or "quits" any claim that they may have had to property. Of the different types of deeds, the quit-claim has the least assurance that the person receiving it will actually get any rights. The person who provides a quit-claim deed makes no warranty or representation that they actually own what they are "quitclaiming." The quit-claim merely provides that whatever they had or may have had, they are conveying it. Quit Claim deeds do not release the person quitting claim from their obligations under a mortgage, although a quit claim deed can be a step in the right direction. In order to remove the party who quits claim from the mortgage, you must refinance the mortgage in the name of the party to whom title or interest in the property has been conveyed..

WARRANTY DEED:  A type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the grantee (buyer). The guarantee is not limited to the time the grantor owned the property, it extends back to the property's origins. A General Warranty Deed includes six traditional forms of Covenants for Title. Those six traditional forms of covenants can be broken down into two categories: present covenants and future covenants. Present Covenants - Covenant of Seisin & Covenant of Right to Convey - Covenants that represent the seller's promise that he has title and possession and can validly grant or convey both; Covenant Against Encumbrances - Seller promises that there are no encumbrances, other than those that have been previously disclosed. Future Covenants - Covenant of Warranty and Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment - Covenants that represent seller's promise to protect the buyer against anyone who comes along later and claims paramount title to the property; Covenant of Further Assurances - If seller omitted something required to pass valid title, seller promises to do whatever is necessary to pass title to buyer.

  • DEED RESTRICTIONS:  An imposed restriction in a deed for the purpose of limiting the use of the land by future owners.

  • DEFECTS:  Any specific restriction, lien, judgment, mortgage, exception, encroachment or encumbrance that may effect the property owners ability to transfer clear title to another party.

  • EASEMENTS:  A right to use the land of another for a specific purpose as for a right-of-way or utilities; an incorporeal interest in land.

  • ENCROACHMENTS:  A building or some portion of it, a wall or fence, that extends beyond the land of the owner and intrudes on some land of an adjoining owner or a street or alley.

  • ENCUMBRANCES:  Any claim by another, such as a mortgage, tax or judgment lien, an easement, encroachment or a deed restriction on the use of the land that may diminish the value of a property.

  • ENDORSEMENTS:  Specific terms and provisions stipulated as possible risks that are covered in Title Insurance Policies. There may or may not be additional charges for particular endorsements.

  • EXAMINATION:  A close specific review of all aspects of an Abstract of Title in relation to the survey of the property and the chain of title.

  • EXCEPTIONS:  Possible items that may be omitted or deviate from the original intent.

  • GRANTEE:  An individual to whom a transfer or conveyance of property is made.  In a case involving the sale of land, the buyer is commonly known as the grantee.

  • GRANTOR:  An individual who conveys or transfers ownership of property. In real property law, an individual who sells land is known as the grantor.

  • INTESTACY:  The condition of the estate of a person who dies owning property greater than the sum of his enforceable debts and funeral expenses without having made a valid will or other binding declaration; alternatively where such a will or declaration has been made, but only applies to part of the estate, the remaining estate forms the "Intestate Estate".  Intestacy law, also referred to as the law of descent and distribution or intestate succession statutes, refers to the body of law that determines who is entitled to the property from the estate under the rules of inheritance.

  • LIENS:  A right given by law to certain creditors to have their debt paid out of the property of a defaulting debtor.

  • MARKETABLE TITLE:  Good or clear title reasonably free from the risk of litigation over possible defects.

  • MORTGAGE:  A security interest on real property granted to a lender.

  • MORTGAGEE:  The person or business making a loan that is secured by the real property.

  • MORTGAGOR:  The person who has borrowed money and pledged his/her real property as security.

  • NOTE:  A written promise to pay or repay a specified sum of money at a stated time or on demand.

  • PROBATE:  The legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under the valid will. A surrogate court decides the validity of a testator's will. A probate interprets the instructions of the deceased, decides the executor as the personal representative of the estate, and adjudicates the interests of heirs and other parties who may have claims against the estate.

  • RECORDING:  The act of entering or recording documents affecting or conveying interests in real estate in the recorder's office established in each county.

  • RESPA:  Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.: Was created to ensure that the buyer and seller in a residential real estate transaction have knowledge of all settlement costs. RESPA applies only to new first mortgage loans and is financed by a federally related mortgage loan (FHA, VA, HUD, Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae or Freddie Mac. Administered by HUD. Transactions covered by RESPA must have a Good Faith Estimate of Settlement Costs, a Uniform Settlement Statement (HUD Form 1, and prohibits the payment of kickbacks.

  • RESTRICTIONS:  A limitation on the use of real property, generally originated by the owner or subdivider in a deed.

  • TENANCY:  Possession or occupancy of lands, buildings, or other property by title, under a lease, or on payment of rent.

JOINT TENANCY:  A joint tenancy or joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTROS or JTWROS) is a type of concurrent estate in which co-owners have a right of survivorship, meaning that if one owner dies, that owner's interest in the property will pass to the surviving owner or owners by operation of law, and avoiding probate. The deceased owner's interest in the property simply evaporates and cannot be inherited by his or her heirs. Under this type of ownership, the last owner living owns all the property, and on his or her death the property will form part of their estate. Unlike a tenancy in common, where co-owners may have unequal interests in a property, joint co-owners have an equal share in the property. It is important to note, however, that creditors' claims against the deceased owner's estate may, under certain circumstances, be satisfied by the portion of ownership previously owned by the deceased, but now owned by the survivor or survivors. In other words, the deceased's liabilities can sometimes remain attached to the property. This form of ownership is common between husband and wife, and parent and child, and in any other situation where parties want ownership to pass immediately and automatically to the survivor. For bank and brokerage accounts held in this fashion, the acronym JTWROS is commonly appended to the account name as evidence of the owners' intent. To create a joint tenancy, clear language indicating that intent must be used - eg. "to AB and CD as joint tenants with right of survivorship, and not as tenants in common". This long form of wording may be especially appropriate in those jurisdictions which use the phrase "joint tenancy" as synonymous with a tenancy in common. Shorter forms such as "to AB and CD as joint tenants" or "to AB and CD jointly" can be used in most jurisdictions. Words to that effect may be used by the parties in the deed of conveyance or other instrument of transfer of title, or by a testator in a will, or in a trust deed.  To create a joint tenancy, the co-owners must share "four unities": (1) Time - the co-owners must acquire the property at the same time. (2) Title - the co-owners must have the same title to the property. If a condition applies to one owner and not another, there is no unity of title. (3) Interest - each co-owner owns an equal share of the property; for example, if three co-owners are on the deed, then each co-owner owns a one-third interest in the property regardless of the amount each co-owner contributed to the purchase price. (4) Possession - the co-owners must have an equal right to possess the whole property. If any of these elements is missing, the joint tenancy is ineffective, and the joint tenancy will be treated as a tenancy in common in equal shares.

TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY:  Is a type of concurrent estate formerly available only to married couples, where ownership of property is treated as though the couple were a single legal person.  Like a JTWROS, the tenancy by the entirety also encompasses a right of survivorship, so if one spouse dies, the entire interest in the property passes to the surviving spouse, without going through probate.  In some jurisdictions, to create a tenancy by the entirety the parties must specify in the deed that the property is being conveyed to the couple "as tenants by the entirety," while in others, a conveyance to a married couple is presumed to create a tenancy by the entirety unless the deed specifies otherwise.  Also, besides sharing the four unities necessary to create a joint tenancy with right of survivorship - time, title, interest, and possession - there must also be the fifth unity of marriage. However, unlike a JTWROS, neither party in a tenancy by the entirety has a unilateral right to sever the tenancy. The termination of the tenancy or any dealing with any part of the property requires the consent of both spouses. A divorce breaks the unity of marriage, leaving the default tenancy, which may be a tenancy in common in equal shares.

TENANCY IN COMMON:  Tenancy in common is the default form of concurrent estate, in which each owner, referred to as a tenant in common, is regarded by the law as owning separate and distinct shares of the same property. By default, all co-owners own equal shares, but their interests may differ in size. This form of ownership is most common where the co-owners are not married or have contributed different amounts to the purchase of the property. The assets of a joint commercial partnership might be held as a tenancy in common. Tenants in common have no right of survivorship, meaning that if one tenant in common dies, that tenant's interest in the property will be part of his or her estate and pass by inheritance to that owner's devisees or heirs, either by will, or by intestate succession. Also, as each tenant in common has an interest in the property, they may, in the absence of any restriction agreed to between all the tenants in common, sell or otherwise deal with the interest in the property (e.g. mortgage it) during their lifetime, like any other property interest.

  • TITLE:  Evidence that the owner of land is in lawful possession thereof; evidence of ownership.

  • TITLE INSURANCE:  A policy insuring the owner or mortgagee against loss by reason of defects in the title to a parcel of real estate, other than the encumbrances, defects and matters specifically excluded by the policy.

FEE INSURANCE:  Also known as Owner's Insurance, assures future marketability of real property.  Specifically protects the owner from prior defects in the title of real property.

MORTGAGEE INSURANCE:  Protects the lender from prior defects in title and assures the priority of the lien.  Required from virtually all lenders who intend to offer their loans in the secondary market.

  • TITLE SEARCH:  An examination of the public records to determine the ownership and encumbrances affecting real property.

FULL SEARCH:  From the earliest recorded documents of record in the County Clerk's Office in which the property is located. 

1920 SEARCH:  A search commencing at a deed recorded on or before 1920 in the County Clerk's Office in which the property is located [Erie County Bar Association contract standard].

STUB SEARCH:  Any search that does not go all the way back to the first deed of record or start on or before 1920.  Covers all liens and encumbrances of record as relates to the title in question for the period of time that the search covers. 

REDATES OR CONTINUATIONS:  Full continuation of title of property and tax search from date the search was last updated (original search needed).

INFORMATION SEARCH:  Or Special Lien Searches. Report of Judgments, Tax Liens and Uniform Commercial Codes (UCC), etc., along with a Mortgagor search from the date the owner(s) took title of the property.


HOLLAND LAND TITLE & ABSTRACT COMPANY, INC.

110 PEARL STREET, SUITE 900 ● BUFFALO, NY 14202 ● PHONE (716) 853-6529 ● FAX (716) 853-9870

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