Knoxville Title Agency
Crossland Title Tennessee

Title Terminology 101

Title Terminology 101

If you find yourself new to home buying or the housing industry, it can seem like title companies are speaking their own language. “After we receive the amendment about the deed restrictions, we can get the ALTA out for closing.”  We use a special set of terms to accommodate the sale and purchase of real estate property. Listed below we have completed a mini reference glossary of the top 20 title terms to assist you through your transaction.

20 Terms To Get You Through Your Transaction

ALTA – (American Land Title Association) Organization composed of title insurance firms that set standards for the industry, including title insurance policy forms used on a national basis.


Amendment – A change either to alter, add to, or correct part of an agreement without changing the principal idea or essence.


Closing – The final procedure in the real estate sales process, where the sale and pertinent loan are completed by the execution of documents for recording. In some areas, this procedure is known as the closing of escrow.


Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions – Commonly called “CC & R’s.” The term usually refers to a written recorded declaration that sets forth certain covenants, conditions, restrictions, rules, or regulations established by a subdivider or other landowner to create uniformity of buildings and use within tracts of land or groups of lots. The restrictions also can be established by deed. CC & R’s are sometimes referred to as private zoning


Deed – A written document by which an estate or interest in real property is transferred from one person to another. The person who transfers the interest is called the “grantor.” The one who acquires the interest is called the “grantee.” Examples of deeds are grant deeds, administrators’ deeds, executors’ deeds, quitclaim deeds, and so on. The deed to use depends on the language of the deed, the legal capacity of the grantor, and other circumstances.


Deed Restrictions – Limitations in the deed to a property that dictate certain uses that may or not be made of the property.


Earnest Money Deposit – Down payment made by a purchaser of real estate as evidence of good faith; a deposit or partial payment.


Easement – A right or interest in the use of the land of another which entitles the holder to some use, privilege, or benefit, such as to place pole lines, pipelines, or roads thereon.


Escrow – An independent third party, such as Crossland Title in Maryville, who acts as the agent for buyer and seller, or borrower and lender, carrying out instructions of both and disbursing documents and funds. Escrow closes and the transfer of property or document is completed upon fulfillment of certain conditions specified in the written instructions, whereupon the necessary deeds and other instruments are recorded.


Lender – Any person or entity advancing funds that are to be repaid. A general term encompassing all mortgagees, and beneficiaries under deeds of trust.


Lien – An encumbrance against property for money, either voluntary or involuntary. All liens are encumbrances but all encumbrances are not liens.


Mortgage – (1) To hypothecate as security, real property for the payment of a debt. The borrower (mortgagor) retains possession and use of the property. (2) The instrument by which real estate is hypothecated as security for the repayment of a loan.


Plat Map – A plan, map, or chart of a tract or town site dividing a parcel of land into lots.


Quitclaim Deed – A deed operating as a release; intended to pass any title, interest, or claim which the grantor may have in the property, but not containing any warranty of a valid interest or title in the grantor.


Restrictions – 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.


Survey – The measurement by a surveyor of real property which delineates the boundaries of a parcel of land. An ALTA survey additionally delineates the exact location of all improvements, encroachments, easements, and other matters affecting the title to the property in question. A survey may be required by a title insurance company whenever the company is requested to issue an ALTA Extended Coverage Policy.


Title – (1) A combination of all the elements that constitute a legal right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy and dispose of real estate or a right or interest therein. (2) The rights of ownership are recognized and protected by the law.


Title Insurance – Insured statement of the condition of title or ownership of real property. For a one-time-only premium, the named insured and their heirs are protected against title defects, liens, and encumbrances existing as of the date of the policy and not specifically excluded from it. In the event of a claim, the title company provides legal defense from the policyholder and pays any covered losses incurred as a result of such a claim.


Title Search – A review of all recorded documents affecting a specific parcel of land to determine the present condition of the title. An experienced title officer or attorney reviews and analyzes all material relating to the search then determines the sufficiency and status of title for insurance of a title insurance policy.


Warranty Deed – A deed used in many states to convey fee title to real property.

There you have it!

There you have it: some of the most used terms in real estate. Having this mini glossary as a reference will help you throughout your transaction.  The descriptions are general and are not intended to be complete legal definitions. We suggest you consult us directly for additional details on any of the words listed above.

If you have more questions contact us here or give us a call at 865.671.0617

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