Abstract (of title) - A condensed history of a title to real estate consisting of a summary of the various links in the chain of title, together with a statement of all liens, judgments, taxes or encumbrances affecting the property.

Adverse possession - Possession inconsistent with the right of the true owner.

Curtsey - In some states, an estate for life which a husband takes at the death of his wife in one-third of those properties which she owned at the time she died.

Deed - A written instrument duly executed and delivered for the purpose of conveying title to real estate.

Defect of record - Any encumbrance on a title which is made a part of the public record. Some recorded defects are judgments, mortgages, other liens, easements, etc.

Dower - In most states, an estate for life which a wife takes at the death of her husband in one-third of those properties which he owned at the time he died.

Dwelling Unit - Any real property improved with a house, apartment, condominium, or similar improvement that provides basic living accommodations including cooking facilities, bathroom and sleeping space.

Easement - A privilege or right of use or enjoyment which one person may have in the lands of another; for example, a right-of-way for utility lines, a joint driveway, etc.

Encroachment - Trespass; the building of a structure or any improvements partly or entirely intruding upon the property of another.

Encumbrance - Any right to or interest in land which may be held by third parties to the lessening of the value of the title to real estate, such as a judgment, unpaid taxes, other liens, easements, etc.

Equity - The interest or value which an owner has in real estate over and above the debts against it.

Fair Market Rent - This is determined based on all facts and circumstances that exist when the rental agreement is entered into, and all rights and obligations of the parties to the rental agreement are taken into account.

General Warranty Deed - A deed containing a covenant whereby the grantor agrees to protect the grantee against any claimant.

Grantee - The buyer of real estate.

Grantor - The seller of real estate.

Hidden Defect - Any encumbrance on a title that is not apparent in the public records; for example, unknown heirs, secret marriages, forged instruments, mental incompetency, infancy of a grantor, etc.

Infancy - That state of being wherein a person has not yet reached the age of legal majority - in most states an infant is a person who has not yet reached the age of 18, although in some states the age of majority is still 21.

Lien - A hold or claim which one person has upon the property of another as a security for some debt or charge.

Mortgagee - The lender under a mortgage.

Mortgagor - The borrower under a mortgage.

Partial interest - Any interest less than a whole; for example, a wife's dower interest, an heir overlooked in the distribution of an estate (partial interests in properties may get down to very small fractions).

Perfecting title - The elimination of all claims made against a title to real estate.