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Real Estate Glossary

Listed below are a glossary of real estate terms in alphabetical order that you may find usefull when considering a real estate transaction.

Tenancy in common: As opposed to joint tenancy, when there are two or more individuals on title to a piece of property, this type of ownership does not pass ownership to the others in the event of death.

Third-party origination: A process by which a lender uses another party to completely or partially originate, process, underwrite, close, fund, or package the mortgages it plans to deliver to the secondary mortgage market.

Title: A legal document evidencing a person's right to or ownership of a property.

Title company: A company that specializes in examining and insuring titles to real estate.

Title insurance: Insurance that protects the lender (lender's policy) or the buyer (owner's policy) against loss arising from disputes over ownership of a property.

Title search: A check of the title records to ensure that the seller is the legal owner of the property and that there are no liens or other claims outstanding.

Transfer of ownership: Any means by which the ownership of a property changes hands. Lenders consider all of the following situations to be a transfer of ownership: the purchase of a property "subject to" the mortgage, the assumption of the mortgage debt by the property purchaser, and any exchange of possession of the property under a land sales contract or any other land trust device.

Transfer tax: State or local tax payable when title passes from one owner to another.

Treasury index: An index that is used to determine interest rate changes for certain adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) plans. It is based on the results of auctions that the U.S. Treasury holds for its Treasury bills and securities or is derived from the U.S. Treasury's daily yield curve, which is based on the closing market bid yields on actively traded Treasury securities in the over-the-counter market.

Truth-in-Lending: A federal law that requires lenders to fully disclose, in writing, the terms and conditions of a mortgage, including the annual percentage rate (APR) and other charges.

Trust deed: Also called a deed of trust. A legal document in which title to property is transferred to a third-party trustee as security for an obligation owed by the trustor (borrower) to the beneficiary (lender). A trust deed is similar to a mortgage—the main difference is that it involves three parties. When a borrower repays the note secured by a trust deed, the trustee must reconvey title back to the borrower by way of a deed of reconveyance.

Two-step mortgage: An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that has one interest rate for the first five or seven years of its mortgage term and a different interest rate for the remainder of the amortization term.

Two- to four-family property: A property that consists of a structure that provides living space (dwelling units) for two to four families, although ownership of the structure is evidenced by a single deed.

Trustee: A fiduciary who holds or controls property for the benefit of another.

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