A Word About Title Language

The title industry has its own language. Many of its words and idioms are derived from the language of the law while others are common words given special meaning related to land titles. There are also words and phrases coined over the years by the title industry itself.



Also called “Back Title Certificate” in some areas, and “Starter” in others. Where titles have been previously examined up to a certain date by reliable examiners, title companies sometimes give subsequent examiners of such titles a letter which sets forth the condition of the title at the time of the previous examination and authorizes them to begin their subsequent examination with the terminal date of the previous examination (See Tacking on).


A proceeding in U.S. District court wherein assets of a debtor unable or unwilling to pay his debts are applied by an officer of the court in satisfaction of creditor claims.


(1) The attorneys at law, taken collectively in a municipality, county, state, or the nation. (2) To defeat; to prevent.


Sometimes called “fee simple deed.” A deed of conveyance which presumes that the grantor holds title, but which makes no warranty with respect to the title.


A person who is entitled to receive funds or property under the terms and provisions of a will or trust or insurance policy.


The instrument by which title to personal property is transferred or conveyed.


(1) Sometimes called “Preliminary Certificate.” It is a preliminary report as to the condition of a title and a commitment to issue a title insurance policy in a certain manner when certain conditions are met. (2) Also, a deposit in escrow of a small part of the purchase price of real estate as evidence of good faith and to bind an agreement to purchase.


A mortgage which covers all of a class of property or all of the property of the mortgagor. For example, railroads sometimes give mortgages on all of their cars and locomotives presently owned or to be acquired in the future, without specifically describing them. Or they may give a mortgage on all the assets of the railroad company.


(1) A written promise to pay to the bearer or owner a stated sum of money at a specified time, with interest usually represented by interest coupons attached to the bond. Coupons may be clipped as they mature and presented for payment. Bonds are sometimes in the form of Certificates of Indebtedness. Bonds are often secured by real estate mortgages. (See Promissory Note.) (2) A written commitment assuring the payment of a stipulated sum of money or the amount of damages in the event of an adverse happening. (3) A certificate of debt issued by a government or corporation guaranteeing payment to bearer of a specified sum of money, plus interest, on a specified future date.


One who acts as an agent for another in negotiating sales or purchases in return for a fee or commission.


A fee or commission paid to a broker.


Laws specifying the type, kind, area and manner of construction of buildings, and prohibiting construction or repair of buildings in violation of such specifications. (Also See Zoning Ordinances)


(See set back line.) A line inside the boundary lines of a piece of real estate beyond which no building may be constructed. Building lines may be established by municipal ordinances, restrictions, and subdivision plats.