Glossary of Terms


Abstract of Title – A condensed history or summary of all transactions affecting a particular tract of land.

Access – The right to enter and leave a tract of land from a public way. Can include the right to enter and leave over the lands of another.

Accretion – The slow build-up of lands by natural forces such as wind or water.

Acknowledgment – The act by which a party executing a legal document goes before an authorized officer or notary public and declares the same to be his or her voluntary act and deed.

Acre – A tract of land 208.71 feet square and containing 43,560 square feet of land.

Administrator – A person appointed by a probate court to settle the affairs of an individual dying without a will. The term is “administratrix” if such a person is a woman.

Adverse Possession – A claim made against the lands of another by virtue of open and notorious possession of said lands by the claimant.

Affidavit – A sworn statement in writing.

Agent – A person or company that has the power to act on behalf of another or to transact business for another

Air Rights – The right to ownership of everything above the physical surface of the land.

ALTA – American Land Title Association, a national association of title insurance companies, abstractors and attorneys specializing in real property law. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

Amortization – The Process of reducing debt through regular installment payments of principal and interest that will result in the payoff of the loan and its maturity.

Appraisal – A Procedure in evaluating and setting value of a specific piece of property

Apprectiation – An Increase in Value

Appurtenance – Anything so annexed to land or used with it that it will pass with the conveyance of the land.

ARM – Adjustable Rate Mortgage. See “Variable Rate Mortgage.”

Assessment – The imposition of a tax, charge or levy, usually according to established rates.

Assessor – A public official who evaluates property for the purpose of taxation.

Assignee – One to whom a transfer of interest is made. For example, the assignee of a mortgage or contract.

Assignor – One who makes an assignment. For example, the assignor of a mortgage or contract.

Assumable Mortgage – A mortgage which, by its terms, allows a new owner to take over its obligations.

Attachment – Legal seizure of property to force payment of a debt.

Attorney in Fact – One who holds a power of attorney from another allowing him or her to execute legal documents such as deeds, mortgages, etc., on behalf of the grantor of the power.

Contact Us Now