Terms L to Z


Land Contract - See Contract for Deed.

Landmark - Any conspicuous object that helps establish land boundaries.

Lease - A grant of the use of lands for a term of years in consideration of the payment of a monthly or annual rental.

Lender's Policy - See Mortgagee's Policy.

Lessee - One who takes lands upon a lease.

Lessor - One who grants lands under a lease.

Lien - A hold, a claim or a charge allowed a creditor upon the lands of a debtor. "Some examples are mortgage liens, judgment liens, mechanic's liens."

Life Estate - A grant or reservation of the right of use, occupancy and ownership for the life of an individual.

Link - A term of land measurement being 1 1 00th of a chain or 66/1 00ths of a foot.

Lis Pendens - A notice recorded in the official records of a county to indicate that a suit is pending affecting the lands where the notice is recorded.

Loss Payable Clause - Provision added to a Fire and Casualty Policy which says any loss will be paid to two or more parties as their interest may appear. Usually the owner and the mortgage lender.

Lot - A measured parcel of land having fixed boundaries.


Majority - The age at which a person is entitled to handle his own affairs.

Marketable Title - A good title about which there is no fair or reasonable doubt.

Mechanic's Lien - A lien allowed by statute to contractors, laborers and material-men on buildings, or other structures upon which work has been performed or materials supplied.

Metes and Bounds - A description of land by courses and distances.

Minor - One who because of insufficient age or status is legally incapable of making contracts.

Monument of Survey - Visible marks or indications left on natural or other objects indicating the lines and boundaries of a survey. May be posts, pillars, stones, cairns, and other such objects, but may also be fixed natural objects, blazed trees, roads and even a water course.

Mortgage - An instrument used to encumber land as security for a debt.

Mortgage-Backed Security - A security evidencing either the ownership of an interest in a mortgage loan or pools of mortgage loans, or a separate obligation secured by a mortgage loan or pool of mortgage loans.

Mortgage Banker - A specialized lending institution that lends money solely with respect to real estate and secures its loans with mortgages on the real estate.

Mortgage Broker - A person or company that buys and sells mortgages for another on commission or who arranges for and negotiates mortgage contracts.

Mortgage Revenue Bonds - issued by communities as a means of providing lower cost mortgage funds to certain qualified borrowers.

Mortgagee - A designation for the mortgage lender on lands.

Mortgagee's Policy - A form of title insurance policy which insures the Validity, enforceability and priority. This form does not provide protection for the owner.

Mortgagor - A designation for the mortgage borrower on lands.


Negative Amortization - An actual increase in the principal amount of a real estate loan because of the addition of matured but unpaid interest to the loan balance. Usually the result of monthly payments which are temporarily set at a lower than needed level.

Notary - One authorized to take acknowledgments. (See acknowledgments


Owner's Policy - A policy of title insurance which insures a named owner against loss by reason of defects, liens and encumbrances or lack of marketability of the title. The company also agrees to defend covered claims made against the title.

Ownership - The right to possess and use property to the exclusion of others.


Patent - A document or grant by which the Federal or State government originally transferred title to public lands to an individual. The first in the series of transfers by which title comes down to present owners.

Plat or Plot - A map representing a piece of land subdivided into lots with streets shown thereon. P.M.I.-Private Mortgage Insurance. An insurance contract which insures that the named lender will recover a specific percentage of the loan amount from the insurer in the event the loan goes bad. Many lenders require this on higher percentage loans.

Points - A one-time special fee or extra charge paid to a lender in order to secure a loan, Expressed as a percentage of face amount of mortgage.

Policy - A written contract of title insurance.

Policy-owner - One who owns a title insurance policy.

Power of Attorney - An instrument authorizing another to act on one's behalf as his agent or attorney.

Power of Sale - A clause inserted in a will, mortgage, deed or trust or trust agreement authorizing the sale or transfer of land in accordance with the terms of the clause.

Pro-rate - To allocate between seller and buyer their proportionate share of an obligation paid or due. "For example, a pro-rate of real property taxes or fire insurance premiums."


Quiet Title - An action in a proper Court to remove record defects or possible claims of other parties named in the action.


Range - A part of the government survey, being a strip of land 6 miles in width, and numbered east or west of the principal meridian.

Real Property - Land and that which is affixed to it.

Realtor - A federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Realty - A brief term for real property.

Redeem - Literally "to buy back." The act of buying back lands after a mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, or other execution sale.

Registered Land - See Torrens Title.

Reinsurance - To insure again by transferring to another insurance company all or part of an assumed liability, thus spreading the loss risk any one company has to carry.

REIT - Real Estate Investment Trust. A product of federal tax legislation formed as a business trust, under a special state REIT statute or as a corporation for the purpose of investing in real estate or mortgages on real estate. '

REMIC - Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit. A product of 1986 federal tax legislation in which a business entity such as a corporation, partnership or trust in which substantially all of the assets consist of qualified mortgages and permitted investments elects to be treated as an REMIC. Qualification avoids treatment as a corporation for tax purposes.

Right-of-Way - The right which one has to pass across the lands of another. An easement.

Riparian - Rights to use of water and waterways in adjoining lakes or rivers.


Second Mortgage - A second loan on real estate that already has a mortgage. It is subordinate to the first mortgage. Usually of shorter term and often at higher interest rate.

Section or Section of Land - A parcel of land comprising one square mile or 640 acres.

Set Back Lines - Those lines which delineate the required distances for the location of structures in relation to the perimeter of the property.

Sub-surface Right - The right of ownership to things lying beneath the physical surface of the property.

Survey - The process of measuring land to determine its size, location and physical description and the resulting drawing or map.


Tenancy in Common - An estate or interest in land held by two or more persons each having equal rights of possession and enjoyment but without any right of survivorship between the owners.

Tenant - Any person in possession of real property with the owner's permission.

Testament - Another term for a will. Commonly referred to as "last will and testament."

Testate - The estate or condition of leaving a will at death. "To die testate."

Testator - A man who makes or has made a testament or will.

Testatrix - A woman who makes or has made a testament or will.

Title - The evidence or right which a person has to the ownership and possession of land. "Commonly considered as a bundle or history of rights."

Title Defect - Any legal right held by others to claim property or to make demands upon the owner.

Title Insurance - Insurance against loss or damage resulting from defects or failure of title to a particular parcel of real property.

Title Plant - The total facilities-records, equipment, fixtures, and personnel- required to function as a title insurance operation. Technically, the organization of official records affecting real property into a system which allows quick and efficient recovery of title information.

Title Search - An examination of public records, laws and court decisions to disclose the current facts regarding ownership of real estate.

Torrens Title - A system whereby, after court proceedings, a certificate is issued setting forth the extent of the applicant's estate in land subject to the exceptions shown. Most popular in the early 1900's, the system was adopted in 19 states. It is presently used only in parts of six states.

Township - A division of territory 6 mites square, containing 36 sections or 36 square miles.

Tract - A particular parcel of land.

Trust - A property right held by one for the benefit or another.

Trustee - A person holding property in trust.


VA Guarantee - An insurance contract in which the Veterans Administration (VA) insures that the named lender will recover a specific percentage of the loan amount from the insurer in the event the loan goes bad.

Variable Rate Mortgage - A loan in which the interest rate fluctuates with the cost of funds or some other index.

Vendee - A purchaser of real property under land contract.

Vendor - A seller of real property under land contract.

Vest - To pass to a person an immediate right or interest. Title may be said to vest in John Brown.

Vestee - A non-legal term used by title insurers to indicate the owner of real property in a policy or report.


Warranty - An agreement and assurance by the grantor of real property for himself and his heirs, to the effect that he is the owner and will be responsible.

Will - A written document properly witnessed, providing for the distribution of property owned by the deceased.


Zoning - The right of a municipality to regulate and determine the compatible character and use of property.