Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Abstract of Title: A condensed history of all transactions affecting a particular property

Closing: Process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, and other required instruments are signed and/or delivered.

Covenants & Restrictions: A provision in the deed limiting the use of the property and prohibiting certain uses.

Deed: Written document that transfers title from grantor to grantee. There are several different types, most common is: Grant deed is simply used to convey property; Quitclaim deed is used when there is no money being transferred (such as divorce situations or transfer between family members)

Deed of Trust: another name for a mortgage (not usually used in NY)

Environmental Control Board (ECB) Violations: (NYC only) A notice that a property does not comply with a provision of the NYC Building Code and/or NYC Zoning Resolution. Resolved by (a) paying the civil penalty and correcting the condition; and (b) filing a Certificate of Correction with the Department of Buildings

Escrow: Money that is kept by the title insurance company to ensure that taxes, liens, etc. can be paid in full when due. Escrow Agreement is a document signed by the Purchaser/Borrower and/or Seller agreeing that the title company is holding this money and that the title company is responsible for making the payment and returning any excess monies back to the Purchaser/Borrower and/or Seller.

Grantor: The person or entity who transfers property (the seller)

Grantee: The person or entity who acquires property (the buyer)

Indemnity: Insurance against possible loss or damage. A title insurance policy is a contract of indemnity.

Joint Tenancy: A way for several people to hold title in that each one owns an undivided equal interest in the property. If one of the joint tenants dies, the other tenants automatically share the interest in the property. Differs from Tenancy in Common in that if one person dies, their interest (equal or unequal) passes to his or her heirs or to an individual specified in their will, not automatically to the remaining tenants. Tenancy by the Entirety is when a husband and wife own the entire interest together, not equal shares. In the event of the death of one, the survivor owns the property without probate.

Judgment: A court’s final decree generally resulting in a lien on a property, and which must be satisfied before the property can be sold.

Legal Description: A description of the land recognized by law and based on a survey which spells out the exact boundaries of the entire piece of land so it cannot be confused with any other.

Lien: A legal claim upon property for the payment of a debt, such as a mortgage, a judgment or mechanic’s lien.

Lis Pendens: A legal notice that litigation is pending on a certain property and that anyone obtaining an interest in the property after the notice date may be bound by the impending judgment. Before a lender can foreclose on a property they must file a lis pendens to assure that the lender’s lien is satisfied before any other.

Mechanic’s Lien: A lien that subcontractor, laborer or supplier of materials may put on a property after furnishing labor or materials to improve the property without being paid

Metes & Bounds: A description of land by measures and distances.

Mortgagor: The borrower

Mortgagee: The lender

Recording: Process of placing a document on file with the county recorder for everyone to see. Claims against property usually are given a priority on the basis of the time and date they are recorded.

Sidewalk Lien: (NYC only) Placed on a property by the Dept of Sanitation when there is damage to the sidewalk that needs to be repaired. Lien is removed after repairs have been done and the city has inspected the repairs.

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

Tax Lien: Lien imposed on the property when property taxes are not paid.

Title Commitment: Report issued by a title insurance company binding or committing the title insurance company to issue the form of policy designated in the commitment (fee or loan) upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment.

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

Underwriter: The insurance company which issues the policies; the actual company that holds reserves to pay losses on title policies, as opposed to an agent (DataTrac), who sells the policies of the underwriter.

Vendee: The purchaser

Vendor: The seller

Vestee: The current recorded owner.