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Glossary


Abstract – a brief synopsis of legal documents, affecting a specific piece of property, which is compiled in chronological order and includes all the instruments in the chain of title.
Abstract Certificate – a certificate appearing at the end of an abstract showing the time period covered and the public records that have been searched. Limitations that affect possible liability are included.

Abstracter – the person or company making abstracts.
Abstract of Judgment – a brief transcript of the essentials  of a judgment.
Abstract of Title – see Abstract.
Abstract Plant – a set of records of all the recorded instruments  in a county indexed geographically by the real property description (property index  – “PI”) and a set of records indexed alphabetically as to other miscellaneous instruments  that affect real property by operation of law (tract index or “TI”). It is so arranged  that all the instruments affecting a piece of land can be immediately found under  the index heading of such land. See also Name File, Property Index.
Acreage – a piece of property described according to the land  survey system. This property has not been platted or subdivided.
Acreage Breakdown Code – a numeric representation of a square  area within a section that is derived by systematically quartering a section into  a grid system.
Acreage Description – see Metes and Bounds.
Ad Valorem – according to the value.
Ad Valorem Taxes – taxes calculated on the assessed value of  real property.
Affidavit – a written statement as to certain facts, made voluntarily  under oath, before a notary public or other judicial officer.
Agent – an individual or corporation who acts in another’s behalf  within the scope of the authority
granted by the other.
ALTA – see American Land Title Association.
ALTA Format – standard American Land Title Association format  for commitments, policies, and
miscellaneous title insurance forms.
American Land Title Association (ALTA) – a national trade association  of the land title industry.
Assessed Value – the value given to a piece of property for  tax purposes, usually fixed by the tax
assessor (now called county property appraiser).
Assignment of Mortgage – a transfer of ownership of a mortgage.
Assumption of Mortgage – the taking of title to real property  by a grantee (buyer), wherein the grantee expressly assumes personal liability for  the payment of an existing note secured by an existing mortgage against the property.
Attorney’s Opinion – the written statement of an attorney setting  forth what he or she believes to be the condition of a real estate title, based  upon an examination of an abstract of title.
Automated Title Information Data System (ATIDS) – Florida’s  largest title computer data base, which gives a law office instant access to title  information.
Balloon Mortgage – a mortgage securing a note that calls for  interest only payments or has level monthly payments for a stated term, but is amortized  over a longer period and provides for a large final payment (balloon) to be due  at maturity.
Base Title – prior title information that covers the title to  a certain point in time.
Binder – see Commitment.
Blanket Mortgage – a single mortgage that covers more than one  parcel of real estate.
Block – a subdivision of a plat. Each block is assigned a unique  number or letter in relation to other blocks.
Certificate of Title – a judicial transfer of title subsequent  to a foreclosure which vests title in the successful bidder at a sale.
Certification Date – (1) the date through which recorded documents  affecting title have been compiled for title search. All abstracts and chains should  always have a certification date shown on the face of the product. In preparing  commitments, the title information’s certification date becomes the effective date  of the commitment; (2) the date through which title plant records have been indexed,  regardless of the type of indexing system.
Chain of Title – a listing of all deeds, wills, or other conveyances  and transfers of title to real property along with encumbrances of all kinds. The  word chain refers to link, that is, linking the deeds and encumbrances.
Claim – a right to assert, or the assertion or a demand for  money due; a demand entered of record by a mechanic or materialman for work done  or material furnished in the erection or repair of a building or other improvement  to property.
Closeout Certificate – supplemental title information, which  is ordered after the recording of closing documents.
Closing – the formality of finalizing a transaction, either  the transferring or refinancing of property, or both.
Closing Protection Letter – an instrument issued to a proposed  insured in which the underwriter assumes liability for loss due to the fraud of,  dishonesty of, misappropriation of funds by, or failure to comply with written closing  instructions by an Member Agent in connection with a real estate transaction for  which a title insurance policy by the underwriter is to be issued.
Closing Services – services performed by a licensed title insurer,  title insurance agent or agency, or attorney agent in the agent or agency’s capacity  as such, including, but not limited to, preparing documents necessary to close the  transaction, conducting the closing, or handling the disbursing of funds related  to the closing in a real estate transaction in which a title insurance commitment  or policy is to be issued.
Closing Statement – the statement, in the form of a balance  sheet, used in a real estate closing to show the charges and credits for each party  to the closing transaction, and also the balance due from or to the respective parties. See also HUD-I.
Co-insurance – two or more policies of title insurance issued  by different underwriters, each covering a portion of the same risk, which when  taken together provide total coverage of the risk. This should not be confused with  reinsurance.
Commercial Name Directory – an alphabetical listing of business  or corporate names that are indexed in ATIDS.
Commitment – an assurance to the lender or to the buyer of real  property that title has been checked through the most current certification date  contemporary with the date of closing. This creates an obligation to write a final  policy by the same underwriter who issued the commitment. Commitment Schedule B,  Part I, lists all items necessary to be obtained or problems to be cleared before  the issuance of a final policy. Schedule B, Part 2, will display all matters that  will be shown on a final policy as exceptions.
Concurrent Issue – see Simultaneous Issue.
Condominium – a condominium is a form of ownership, not a building  type. Usually it is an apartment house, office building, or other multiple unit  building or group of buildings in which the apartments or other units intended for  separate occupancy or use are individually owned and the unit owners collectively  own the common facilities.
Condominium Property – this includes the following: (1) the  lands and leaseholds that are subjected to condominium ownership, whether or not  contiguous, and all improvements thereon; (2) all easements and rights owned in  addition to the property intended for use in connection with the condominium.
Condominium Unit – the apartment (or residential unit) or office  space in a condominium complex together with an undivided interest in the common  areas. These units are considered real property.
Continuation of Abstract – also known as an extension of supplementary  abstracts. It is commonly referred to as a partial abstract, and it begins at the  final certification date of the previous abstract and includes all instruments recorded  since the prior abstract to a current certification date.
Continuation Sheet – a blank form provided by THE FUND to use  when one runs out of room on either Schedules A or B of any Fund commitment, policy,  or endorsement.
Conventional Loan – generally indicates a mortgage loan that  is neither insured by the FHA nor guaranteed by the VA and is not generally intended  to be sold on the secondary market.
Conveyance – the transfer of title of land from one to another;  also, the instrument that accomplishes this transfer.
Core Title Agent Services – services required by Section 8 of  RESPA that the attorney of the seller or buyer must perform in order to receive  compensation as a title agent. These core services include: (1) evaluation of the  title search to determine the insurability of the title; (2) clearance of underwriting  objections; (3) actual issuance of the policy or policies on behalf of the title  insurance company; (4) issuance of the title commitment and conducting of the title  search and closing; (5) assumption of liability for the core title agent services  performed.
County Number – a unique two-digit number in ATIDS that designates  the county for title searching. All counties in the system have a county number.
Cut-off Number – the authorization number that entitles an attorney  who is writing 25 or more policies in the same subdivision or condominium to search  at a reduced rate on the ATIDS System. The cut-off number must be requested from  the Help Desk.
Date of Filing (DOF) – the month, day, and year a document was  filed in the public records.
Date of Instrument (DOl) – the month, day, and year a document  was prepared.
Deed – a written instrument signed and witnessed by two persons  by which one person conveys title of land to another. While more commonly used to  convey title to real property, it may also be used to convey title to personal property. See also Fee Simple Deed, Warranty Deed, Quitclaim Deed.
Description – see Legal Description.
Disbursement – paying out all funds due to the seller, buyer,  real estate agent, attorney, surveyor, or other parties at closing rather than holding  monies in escrow for a clearing period.
Document (Instrument) – written or printed piece of paper that  can be used as decisive evidence and notice of transactions and obligations, such  as conveyances of land, mortgages, liens, judgments, etc.
Duplicate Policy – is a copy of a previously issued policy.
Easement – a right or interest in the land of another, which  entitles the holder to some use, privilege, or benefit (such as to place power lines,  pipe lines, roads, or to travel over, etc.) out of or over said land.
Effective Date of Commitment – the date through which the attorney  has examined physical documents affecting title to property being transferred. See also Certification Date.
Effective Date of Policy – the date the instrument creating  the estate or interest being insured is recorded (or a date after it); usually the  date closing documents (deed, mortgage) are recorded.
Encumbrance – any claim, right, or lien upon the title to real  property; most common example is a mortgage.
Endorsement – form provided by THE FUND, which is used for the  amendment of information or coverage contained in a Fund commitment or policy.
Escrow – (1) a transaction in which a third party as a depository  for seller and buyer or for borrower and lender acts in carrying out the instructions  of both first and second parties, and also in handling and disbursing the papers  and funds; (2) special account used by attorneys and REALTORS® to hold down payments,  earnest money, and funds
from closing for a specified clearing period if custom allows.
Estoppel Letter – a document executed by a party to a debt (mortgagor  or mortgagee) acknowledging the current loan balance and terms. Having thus acknowledged  the balance and terms, the party making the document is prevented from later claiming  that the information was not accurate. It is most commonly used to confirm the loan  balance in connection with the sale of a mortgage by the mortgagee or in connection  with the sale of the underlying real property by the mortgagor. It is also used  to confirm or deny any outstanding balance due to a homeowner’s or condominium association.
Exceptions – any items that will not be covered by the policy,  usually easements, restrictions, leases, etc., which are found of record, and are  not cleared before closing.
Fee Simple – the highest estate or interest in land. The terms fee, fee simple, and fee simple absolute are all synonymous.
Fee Simple Deed – a transfer or conveyance of fee-simple title  without warranties; it implies that the grantor has good title to convey.
Filing – in the title business, same as recording.
See Recording.
First Party – usually the person(s) initiating the action of  a document. The document is usually signed by the first party, such as the grantor,  mortgagor, etc.
Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C. or Fla. Admin. Code) – The  rules and regulations governing title insurance are found in Ch. 690-186 of the  Code.
FLTA – Florida Land Title Association.
Foreclosure – a court proceeding against real property to satisfy  a debt. The property is sold under court order when it is used as security for a  debt that is not paid.
Fund or THE FUND – the logo used to identify Attorneys’ Title  Services Fund, Inc.
Fund Corporate Agent – see Agent.
Gap – the period of time between the effective date of a commitment  and the recording date of the instrument creating the estate or interest being insured.  Sec. 627.7841, F.S., requires the title insurer to give, under certain conditions,  protection to the insured for defects first appearing of record in the gap period.
General Index (GI) – see Name File.
Grantee – one receiving title to real property, such as the  purchaser of property; a person to whom a grant is made.
Grantor – one who signs a deed thereby granting title, such  as the seller of real property.
Hard Copy – photocopy of a document filed at a county courthouse.
Homestead – a property defined by law and designated by a natural  person as a house or home that is not subject to forced sale to pay his debts. In  Florida, homestead land receives tax benefits, is protected from creditors’ claims,  and can be alienated or devised under limited circumstances.
HOD-I – the uniform settlement statement (closing statement)  prescribed for use in federally related mortgage transactions. The use of this form  is mandated under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
Index – (1) any alphabetical or numerical listing used to locate  prior files, policies, abstracts, etc.; in the recording office of the clerk of  the circuit-court comptroller, (2) a chronological, alphabetical listing of names  of parties reflected on recorded instruments; commonly referred to as the grantor/grantee  index or the direct/indirect index.
Instrument – see Document.
Insurer – the term applied to the title insurance company or  underwriter.
Jacket – the serialized exterior into which Schedules’ A and  B fit. It is the only portion of the policy that must be accounted for due to serializing.
Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship – two or more persons  who hold title to real estate jointly, with equal rights, with clearly stated rights  of survivorship according to statute. If one of the joint tenants conveys his interest,  the survivorship feature is terminated and they would all be tenants in common.
Judgment – the decision of a court of law awarding payment of  money or other relief against one party for the benefit of another.
Lease – a contract between an owner and a tenant, setting forth  conditions upon which the tenant may occupy and use the real property and the term  of the occupancy.
Leasehold – an estate or interest in real estate held by the  lessee by virtue of a lease.
Legal Description – a statement that clearly describes the location  of the boundaries of a tract of real property with respect to some point of reference.  Metes and bounds, lots and blocks in platted subdivisions, and units in condominiums  are several types of legal descriptions. Street addresses and tax parcel ID numbers  are generally not legally sufficient descriptions for the purpose of transferring  an interest in real estate.
Lessee – the party who contracts to lease from the lessor or  landlord; a tenant.
Lessor – the party who enters into a lease with another; the  owner.
Lien – a claim on the property of another person as security  for the payment of a debt.
Limited Residential Search – a specialized ATIDS search that  may be used for platted
residential properties and for issuing the Owner’s Policy Residential form and  Mortgagee Policy Short Form.
Lot – usually the smallest division of property shown on a plat.
Marketability – the status of a title when viewed in the light  of whether it is in such condition as to be free from legal doubt or uncertainty;  also known as a merchantable title.
Marketability Policy – an owner’s policy extending coverage  to insure against loss or damages because of the inability to sell the property  in the future due to title problems.
Master Mortgage – a form of blanket mortgage recorded and used  as reference in the actual mortgage and in which are included many of the basic  terms and requirements of the lender. The actual mortgage is a short form and does  not repeat the terms in the master mortgage but, by reference, makes it and its  terms a part of the mortgage obligations.
Metes and Bounds – used in legal descriptions of land by surveyors.  Metes are measurements such as feet, yards, chains, and miles. Bounds are boundaries  both natural and artificial, such as lakes, rivers, roads, and railroads.
Mortgage – the pledging of property to a creditor as security  for payment of a debt.
Mortgagee – the holder of a mortgage; the lender.
Mortgagee Policy (MP) – used to insure the mortgage lien that  a lender is acquiring. It insures that the mortgage has been executed in accordance  with the law, and is a valid lien against the real property described.
Mortgagee Policy Short Form (MPP) – provides all the coverages  of the “long form” policy, but uses preprinted general exceptions rather than exceptions  that are specifically described by date and recording information.
Mortgagor – the debtor; the person who executes a mortgage;  the borrower.
Name File (General Index or GI) – an ATIDS file that contains  documents/entries indexed by name. There are documents that may affect a person’s  obligation or right to convey property, but do not affect a specific piece of property.  A document in the name file very rarely contains a legal description.
Official Records (OR) – in a broad sense, this term might include  several different public record books. For title purposes, Official Records pertain  to the set of index books as defined by the Legislature, which the clerk of the  circuit court must maintain, and which takes the place of deed books, mortgage books,  judgment books, etc., so that one set of books would simplify the records. A simplified  recording system currently in use, which provides constructive notice for all documents  filed.
Owner’s Policy, Marketability (OPM) – see Marketability  Policy.
Owner’s Policy, Residential (OPR) – provides all the coverages  of the “long fonn” owner’s policy but uses preprinted general exceptions rather  than exceptions that are specifically described by date and recording infonnation.  This is the only owner’s policy form that may be issued based on the Limited Residential  Search.
Parcel – a general term referring to any described piece of  real property.
Personal Property – any property that is not real property (examples:  stocks, bonds, mortgages, notes, cars, boats, furniture).
Plat – a map or plan of a subdivision.
Plat Book – the public record book in which maps, plats, and  copies of surveys are recorded.
Postings – any documents and legals that have been entered into  ATIDS.
Premium – the charge made by a title insurer for a title insurance  policy, including the charge for performance of primary title services by a title  insurer or title insurance agent or agency.
Primary Title Services – determining insurability in accordance  with sound underwriting practices based upon evaluation of a reasonable title search  or a search of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code filing office and such other  information as may be necessary, determination and clearance of underwriting objections  and requirements to eliminate risk, preparation and issuance of a title insurance  commitment setting
forth the requirements to insure, and preparation and issuance of the policy.  Such services do not include closing services or title search for which a separate  charge or charges may be made.
Principal – there are three meanings of this term for title  persons: (1) a sum of money owed as a debt or borrowed; (2) a person who empowers  another to act as his agent or representative; (3) a person primarily responsible  for an obligation, as distinguished from one who is a surety or endorser.
Prior Exposure (Prior Policy) – a policy issued in the past  is known as a prior exposure or prior policy and may be used as  a base for title searching.
Prior Policy – (1) any policy written by a corporate title insurer  on property insuring title to that property. It can sometimes be used as a base  for searching title and can be used for prior policy reissue rate under limited  circumstances (2) any policy on property insured by THE FUND since 1948. If a prior  Fund policy exists on the same land transferred today, the effective date of the  prior Fund policy can be used as a base for searching title, sometimes with a minimum  overlap. Copies of prior policies are available to Fund Member Agents if using ATIDS  and issuing a policy on Old Republic National Title Insurance Company through Attorneys’  Title Fund Services, LLC.
Property Index (Property File or PI) – an ATIDS file that contains  any documents that directly affect property.
Public Records – the records consisting of instruments transcribed  on the record books of governmental offices, in particular the clerk of the circuit  court or comptroller’s office.
Purchase Money Mortgage – a mortgage given by the buyer to the  seller of particular property as part of the purchase price. The term may, under  certain conditions, include a mortgage to a third party.
Quitclaim Deed – a simple form of deed containing no warranties,  which releases or conveys any interest the grantor may have in the property described.
REALTOR® – a copyrighted trade name that can be legally used  only by persons belonging to the National Association of Realtors.
Recording (Filing) – the placing of any instrument that affects  the title of real property on the records of the county in which that property is  located.
Reinsurance – one insurance company insuring another insurer  against loss exceeding a specified amount; used as standard underwriting practice  when the amount is large.
Reissue – the issuance of a new title insurance policy based  on a prior exposure or prior policy.
Reissue Rate – a discounted rate used to calculate the Fund  title premium when a prior owner’s policy is provided, under limited circumstances.
Replat – a new plat changing all or portions of a former plat.
RESPA – Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, found in 12 U.S.C.,  Secs. 2601 et seq., initially enacted Dec. 22,1974. RESPA is implemented by Regulation  X, found at 24 CFR Part 3500, most recently amended December 2, 1992.
Restrictions (or Restrictive Covenants) – limitations in a deed  or by separate instrument, which restricts the use, occupation, and improvement  of land.
Risk – the risk that a title company assumes when it insures  an interest of real property.
Sales Contract – a contract by which one party agrees to buy  and the other agrees to sell certain real property according to the terms of a written  contract.
Schedule A – first page of a commitment or policy inserted in  a jacket cover. Schedule A of a commitment and policy includes the effective date  of the commitment or policy, the name of the insured, the amount of insurance and  the legal description of the land insured.
Schedule B – second page of a commitment or policy inserted  in a jacket cover. Schedule B-1 of a commitment includes the requirements for insuring  and the exceptions to coverage. Schedule B-2 of a policy lists the exceptions to  coverage.
Search – exploring or checking the public records to determine  the title of a particular piece of real property.
Second Party – anyone who is the recipient of an action created  by a document, such as a grantee, mortgagee, etc.
Serialized Forms – any policy form on which a pre-assigned serial  number appears (e.g., commitment, mortgagee policy, and owner’s policy insuring  marketability jackets). The annual audit and forms controls sheets identify these  forms by listing the serial numbers.
Simultaneous Issue – owner and mortgagee policies covering identical  land that are issued with the same effective dates.
Subdivision – a tract of land laid out and divided into lots,  blocks, etc.
Supplement (or Update, BringdoWD, Closeout, Closeout Certificate) – written certified supplemental title  information ordered before the issuance of a final title policy. Usually, it will  supplement information from the effective date of commitment through the recording  date of the last instrument that creates the interests to be insured.
Survey – the act by which the boundaries and quantity of land  are determined; the map or plat drawn by a surveyor that shows the results of the  survey.
TAC – see Title Assumption Certificate.
Timeshare – a facility or property where ownership and/or use  is divided into time periods.
Title – a combination of all elements that constitute the legal  right to own, possess, use, control, enjoy, and dispose of real estate. It is a  right of ownership recognized and protected by law.
Title Assumption Certificate (TAC) – certified information showing  the condition of an examined lot or condominium unit, usually through the recording  of the subdivision plat or the condominium declaration. TACs are given solely for  the purpose of issuing Old Republic policies through Attorneys’ Title Fund Services,  LLC.
Title Certificate- an examined summary of the status of title  to specific real property, including liens and encumbrances, to be used by attorneys  for the issuance of title insurance commitments and final policies written on Old  Republic National Title Insurance Company through Attorneys’ Title Fund Services,  LLC.
Title Commitment – see Commitment.
Title Insurance – indemnity against loss resulting from defects in or undisclosed liens upon a title.
Title Plant – see Abstract Plant.
Title Search – 1) “the compiling of title information from official  or public records.” Sec. 627.7711 (4), F.S. 2) a general term referring to a search  and examination of the public records for recorded instruments that affect the title  to the parcel of land under search. It may be in the form of an abstract, chain  of title, title certificate, etc.
Title Search Report – report from which status of title can  be determined. Requires examination by an Agent. May be relied on for the issuance  of Fund commitment and policy.
Tract – some plats may be subdivided into areas designated as  tracts. Each tract is assigned a unique number or letter in relation to other tracts.  In many cases, this can be an unused portion of a subdivision that is outside the  subdivided areas known as lots, blocks, etc. Tract is also used as a general  term to indicate a large area of property.
Underlying Property – the property description prior to a plat  or condominium declaration.
Underwriter – an insurance company that is given a certificate  of authority by the Florida Department of Financial Services Office of Insurance  Regulation to engage in the business of issuing policies of title insurance. Section  624.401 (1), F.S.
Underwriter Share – the amount remitted to the underwriter whenever  a policy is written; the share of the premium paid by the Fund Member Agent for  issuance of a policy.
Unit (Apartment) – a part of a legal description that designates  the portion under individual ownership within a condominium building and an undivided  interest in the common areas.
Unit (Subdivision) – a development portion or phase of a subdivision,  usually encompassed by a separate plat.
Unrecorded Subdivision (UN X) – a surveyor plat of subdivided  lots and/or blocks that has not been recorded according to applicable laws and regulations
Warehousing – a system of temporary funding, whereby the warehouse  bank holds mortgages originated by a mortgage broker, putting up the funds for same  until such time as the broker is ready to transfer the mortgages to a permanent  lender.
Warrant – to assure the title to the real property sold by an  express covenant to that effect in the deed or conveyance; to stipulate by an express  covenant that the title of a grantee shall be good and his possession undisturbed.
Warranty – in a broad sense, an agreement or undertaking by  a seller to be responsible for present or future losses growing out of the interest  in or encumbrances on the title; to guarantee the title.
Warranty Deed – generally the same as General Warranty Deed; a deed containing five common law warranties: (1) covenant of warranty; (2) covenant  of seisin; (3) covenant of quiet enjoyment; (4) covenant against encumbrances; and  (5) covenant of further assurance

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