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Real Estate Dictionary

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An abbreviation of the cardinal aspects of all recorded deeds, mortgages, leases and other instruments affecting the title to a particular piece of land.


The person or company engaged in making abstracts.


The process of making and compiling an abstract.

Adverse Possession

The unauthorized occupation of land belonging to another, by a person who does not have the consent of the owner. Said occupier is said to hold possession adversely to the rights and interests of the owner. In most states, by operation of law, title to the land becomes vested in such occupier after a fixed number of years of peaceful occupancy.

All-Inclusive Rate

When referring to title insurance, an all-inclusive rate is a rate that includes at least some part of the cost of researching the title or the cost of conducting the closing.


 American Land Title Association, the national trade association for the title insurance industry. ALTA is made up of title firms that conduct your closing and issue you an Owner's Policy of Title Insurance.


This term has developed through French and Old English from the Latin words "mors" or "mort" meaning death or dead. It is the killing off of an existing debt by regular partial payments. The word "mortgage" is also derived from the same Latin root.


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


Annual Percentage Rate. The yearly interest percentage of a loan as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid.

Attorney's Opinion

The written statement of an attorney setting forth what he believes to be the condition of a real estate title.

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