Abandonment: The voluntary relinquishment of rights of ownership or another interest(such as easement) by faliure to use the property, coupled with an intent to abandon (give up the interest).

Abstract: A summary.

Abstract of Judgement: A summary of money judgement obtained in court. (When this summary or abstract is recorded in the county recorder's office, in some states the judgement becomes a lien on the debtor's property, both presently owned or after-acquired.)

Abstract of Title: A summary prepared by a licensed abstractor of all documents recorded in the public records of the political subdivision where the land is located. An abstract in some states or areas is reviewed by an attorney or other experienced title examiner to determine the status of title. Virtually every abstractor today provides actual copies of the records rather than an abstract of each document.

Abatement: A reduction of decrease. Usually applies to a decrease of assessed valuation of ad valorem taxes after the assessment, and levy

Acceleration Clause: Clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, which "accelerates," or hastens, the time when the indebtedness becomes due. For example, some deeds of trust contain a provision(an acceleration clause) stating that the note shall become due immediately upon the sale of the land or upon faliure to pay interest or an installment of principal and interest

Accomodation Recording: Recording of instruments with the county recorder by a title company merely as a convenience to a customer and without assumption of responsibility for correctness or validity-Policy.

Acknowledgement:  A formal declaration before a duly authorized officer (such as a notary public) by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his own act and deed. An acknowledgment is necessary to entitle an instrument (with certain specific exceptions) to be recorded, to impart constructive notice of its contents and to entitle the instrument to be used as evidence without further proof. The certificate of acknowledgment is attached to the instrument or incorporated therein. 

Adjustable Mortgage Loans (AML'S):  Mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current rates. The amounts and times of adjustment are agreed to at the inception of the loan. Also called: Adjustable Rate Loans, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM'S), Flexible Rate Loans, Variable Rate Loans. (See also: Indexing, Rate Index).


Administrator:  A person appointed by the probate court to carry out the administration of a decedent's estate when the decedent has left no will. If a woman is appointed, she is called an administratrix. 

Adverse Possession:  A process of acquiring title to real property by possession for a certain (statutory) period of time, in addition to fulfilling other conditions. 

Affidavit:  A written statement or declaration, sworn to before an officer who has authority to administer an oath. 

Agent:  One who has authorization, either expressed or implied, to act for or represent another party, usually in business matters, such as issuing title insurance policies on behalf of a title insurer for a portion of the premium. 

Agreement of Sale:  A written contract entered into between the seller (vendor) and buyer (vendee) for sale of real property (land) on an installment or deferred payment plan. It is also known as an agreement to convey, a long form Security Agreement or a real estate installment contract. 

All-Inclusive Rate:  Rate which includes charges for title insurance, searching or abstract fees and examination fees. 

ALTA: (American Land Title Association)  Organization composed of title insurance firms which sets 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. 

Amortized Loan:  A loan that is paid off, both interest and principal, by regular payments that are equal or nearly equal. 

Annual Percentage Rate (A.P.R.):  The yearly interest percentage of a loan, as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid. For example: 6% add-on interest would be much more than 6% simple interest, even though both would say 6%. The A.P.R. is disclosed as a requirement of federal truth in lending statutes. 

Appraisal:  An estimate of value of property resulting from analysis of facts about the property; an opinion of value. 

Approved Attorney:  An attorney whose opinion is acceptable to a title company as the basis for issuance of a title insurance policy by the insurer. The insurer, rather than the attorney, executes the policy. 

Assumption:  The act of conveying real property; taking title to a property with the Buyer assuming liability for paying an existing note secured by a deed of trust against the property. 


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