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.



The advance, by a purchaser, or a small part of the purchase price as evidence of good faith.


A right held by a person to enjoy or make limited use of another’s real property.


The right to a path or right of way over which a person may leave or go away from his own real estate.


(1) Eviction or dispossession. (2) A law suit to regain possession of real estate held by another.


The right of a government to take privately owned property for public purposes under condemnation proceedings upon payment of its reasonable value.


The extension of a structure from the real estate to which it belongs across a boundary line and onto adjoining property.


A claim, right, or lien upon the title to real estate, held by someone other than the real estate owner.


Rights established primarily by court decisions based upon principles of fairness, honesty, justness and morality and not upon enacted law or common law.


A system of jurisprudence supplementing the common law and enacted law under which justice, impartiality, and fairness is applied in circumstances not covered by enacted or common law.


The right of one who has mortgaged his property to redeem that property upon payment of the mortgage debt, and especially the right to redeem within a reasonable time after the due date.


The wearing away of land surfaces by forces of nature such as winds and water.


The reversion of property to the state when an owner dies leaving no legal heirs, devisees or claimants.


Technically, this term strictly refers to a deed delivered to a third person to be held by him until the fulfillment or performance of some act or condition by the grantee. In title industry parlance it means the depositing with an impartial third party called the escrow agent (usually the title company) of anything pertaining to a real estate transaction including money and documents of all kinds which are to be disbursed and delivered to the rightful parties by the escrow agent when all conditions of the transaction have been met.


A written agreement usually made between buyer, seller, and escrow agent, but sometimes only between one person and the escrow agent. It sets forth the conditions to be performed incident to the object deposited in escrow, and gives the escrow agent instructions with respect to the disposition of the object so deposited.