Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Abstract
A short-hand version of all recorded documents affecting title to a particular piece of land.
Abut
To touch or border upon. A piece of land bordering a street or an adjoining property is said to abut such street or property.
Appraise
To estimate the value of real estate.  Residential appraisals are usually based upon a comparison of the subject property with "comparable" properties.
Assessed Valuation
The estimated fair market value of property for tax purposes usually determined by the tax assessor for the particular town or city.
Civil Union
See the following page for information about Vermont’s recent and unique Civil Union Law: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/baker/cureview.htm.
Closing
Often referred to as "settlement". The process of completing a real estate transaction during which deeds, mortgages, leases or other required instruments are signed or delivered. Additionally, the accounting between parties is made, monies disbursed and recording of all pertinent documents undertaken.
Conveyance
The transfer of title to property from one person to another by deed.
Deed
  The document by which title to real estate is conveyed from one party to another.  The most commonly used document of conveyance is the Warranty Deed.
Easement
A right held by a person to enjoy or make limited use of another's real property.  The most common easements are for utility lines.
Eminent Domain
The right of a government to take privately owned property for public purposes under condemnation proceeding upon payment of its reasonable value.  American Land Title, LLC serves as an escrow agent.
Encroachment
The extension of a structure from the real estate to which it belongs across a boundary line and onto adjoining property.
Encumbrance
A claim, right, or lien upon the title to real estate held by someone other than the real estate owner.
Escrow
The depositing of money or documents from a real estate transaction with an impartial third party (escrow agent), to be disbursed to the rightful party when all conditions of the transaction have been met.
Fiduciary
A person who bears a special relationship of trust, confidence and responsibility to others, such as a trustee or agent.
Homestead
In Vermont, a spouse has a statutory interest in the residence of the parties even if title to the property is held in the name of the other spouse only. Thus, the valid conveyance of any interest in homestead property requires the signature of both parties although title may be held in the name of one of them alone.
HUD
A summary of the financial portion of the real estate transaction required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  This form contains all the financial details and is invaluable for tax and planning purposes. It should be kept in a safe place because it will almost certainly be needed in the future.
Indemnity
Insurance against possible loss or damage. A title insurance policy is a contract of indemnity.
Lender's Title Insurance
An insurance policy, which protects the lender against claims, and losses that may arise if the title is unmarketable or defective.
Lien
The liability of real estate as security for payment of a debt. Such liability may be created by contract, such as a mortgage or by operation of law, such as a mechanic's lien.
Marketable Title
A title, which a court of equity considers to be so free of material defects and liens that it will force acceptance by a purchaser. Also known as a merchantable title.
Mechanic's Lien
A lien on real estate, created by operation of law which secures the payment of debts due to persons who perform labor or services or furnish materials incident to the construction of buildings and improvements on the real estate.
Mortgage
A lien upon real estate usually signed at the same time the Note is signed for the purpose of securing payment of the Note. The signers of the Mortgage must be thelegal owners of the property, and they are referred to as the Mortgagors. The lender is referred to as the Mortgagee. The mortgage is recorded in the landrecords. At such time as the Note is paid in full, the Mortgagee signs a Mortgage Discharge which, upon recording in the land records, properly discharges the mortgage and renders it of no further force and effect.
Note
The written promise to pay indebtedness according to the terms and conditions set forth in the document. Often referred to as a Promissory Note, it is signed at the time of Closing. Payment of the Note will be secured by a Mortgage upon the real estate.
Owner's Title Insurance
A policy of title insurance usually insuring an owner of real estate against loss occasioned by defects in, liens against or other conditions rendering the owner's title to the property unmarketable.
Quit Claim Deed
A deed which does not imply that the grantor holds title, but which surrenders and gives to the grantee any possible interest or rights which the grantor may have in the property.
Real Estate
Land, including all inherent natural attributes and man-made improvements of a permanent nature placed thereon.
Record Title
The aspects of title, which appear in the land records, as distinguished from unrecorded title aspects and interests.
Recording
The filing of real estate documents with the appropriate town or city clerk. It is the clerk’s duty to accurately copy the documents into the clerk’s land records, then return the originals to the party that filed them. The land records are public records kept by the clerk in a vault and open to inspection by title examiners and other members of the public.
Restrictions
Often called restrictive covenants.  Provisions in a deed or other instrument whereby an owner of land prohibits or restricts certain use, occupation and improvement of the land.
Search
Exploration of public records in an effort to find all recorded instruments related to a particular chain of title.  This is often referred to as a title search.
Survey
The map or plot drawing of a property. The survey will be prepared by a duly licensed surveyor or engineer based upon both deed and field research. For recording, a Mylar of the survey is required.
Title
A legal right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy and dispose of real estate or an inheritable right or interest therein.
Warranty Deed
A deed conveying title to property wherein the Grantor warrants title to the property subject only to any exceptions or encumbrances specified in the deed itself.