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 of title

A chronological summary of all official records and recorded documents affecting the title to a parcel of real property.

acceleration clause

A provision in a promissory note or mortgage that, in the occurrence of specific event, the outstanding amount of principal and accrued interest may be declared to be immediately due and payable.


The increase or accumulation of land by natural causes, as out of a lake or river.


A formal declaration before an authorized official by the person who executed an instrument that it is his or her free act and deed; the certificate of the official on such instrument attesting that it was so acknowledged.

adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)

A mortgage loan where the interest rate changes according to the movements of an assigned index or market indicator, such as the prime rate or LIBOR.

adverse possession

A means to acquire title to land through open and notorious occupancy of the land, while claiming ownership for the period of years set by the law of the state where the property exists.


Voluntary, written statement of facts, signed and sworn to before some person authorized to take an oath.


A modification or change to an existing contract, note or mortgage or other writing, mutually agreed to by all parties thereto.


Periodic payment plan to pay a debt in which the interest and a part of the principal are included in payment of a consistent amount.


An initial statement of personal and financial information, which is required to approve your loan.


A determination of the value of a tract of property.

appraised value

An estimate of the present worth of property.


a form of dispute resolution, wherein the parties to the dispute conduct a trial like proceeding, held in an attempt to avoid a court trial and conducted by a person or a panel of people who are not judges.  The judges decisions may be binding or non-binding depending on the rules agreed to by the parties.

arms length transaction

the description of an agreement made by two or more parties freely and independently of each other, and without some special relationship, such as being a relative.


An increase in value or worth of property. Opposite of depreciation .


A local government official who determines the value of the property for taxation purposes.


The transfer to another person of any property, real or personal.

assumable mortgage

An existing mortgage that can be taken over by the buyer on the same terms given to the original borrower.

Attorney-in-fact (Power of Attorney)

A private person (not necessarily a lawyer) authorized by another to act in his or her place, either for some particular purpose, as to do a specific act, or for the transaction of business in general.

attorney's opinion of title

An instrument written and signed by the attorney who examines the abstracts of title, stating his opinion as to whether a seller may convey good title.


These terms and their presence on this site are not intended as, nor should they be used as, legal advice. You should always obtain advice from a licensed attorney for all legal matters.