To help you understand commen terms involved in the escrow process, we have prepared a glossary of terms for you.
You may click on the letter to jump to the terms beginning with that letter.
Glossary of Escrow Terms
[A] [Back to Top]
An abridgment; a brief
A consideration or summary of the
essential provisions of a Court Judgment.
A list of, and full or abstract
copies of, all documents affecting Title based on an examination of public
Owner whose land touches another
parcel, i.e., a road, highway, or other parcel of land.
A clause in an Installment Note
permitting the Payee to declare the entire unpaid balance immediately due and
payable upon the failure to pay an installment when due. Such a clause is subject, however, to a
statutory right of reinstatement in California if the Note is secured by a Deed
of Trust or Mortgage not being foreclosed by Judicial Process.
An act of authenticating
instruments conveying property or otherwise conferring rights; a declaration by
the Party executing an instrument that it is the Party’s act and Deed; a form
used by Notaries Public and other authorized officials to verify the act of
Judicial determination of a case
A person appointed by a Probate
Court as the representative of a Decedent’s Estate where the Decedent left no
Administrator with the Will
annexed; the representative of a Decedent’s Estate where no one is named as
Executor, or where the named person is unable or unwilling to act.
According to value.
Claims of Ownership of property
based upon open and hostile possession and occupancy. Issuance of Title Insurance requires
A person who makes an
A written declaration under oath.
A person who acts for another by
The voluntary parting with an
interest in the Ownership of Real Property.
A clause in a Note and Trust Deed
permitting the payee to declare the entire unpaid balance immediately due and
payable upon subsequent transfer of the property. Also referred to as a “Due On Sale”
All-Inclusive Deed of
This is a junior Deed of Trust on
the property that includes the amount actually due the Beneficiary therein but
also includes the amount actually due the Beneficiary therein but also includes
the unpaid principal balances of Deeds of Trust that are to remain of record and
are senior to this Deed of Trust.
The Beneficiary agrees that by accepting payment on the amount of the
“All-Inclusive” Deed of Trust that he will make the payments, when due, on the
senior Deeds of Trust.
This type of Deed of Trust is
often used by a Seller of the property rather than using a Contract of Sale to
avoid complex problems of foreclosing on a Contract of Sale.
The “All-Inclusive” Deed of Trust
is also often called a “Wrap-Around” Deed of Trust, a “Hold Harmless” Deed of
Trust, or an “Over-riding” Deed of Trust.
Provision for the payment of a
debt or obligation by payment of principal and interest at stated periods for a
stated time until debt is extinguished.
An opinion as to the fair market
value of property.
Value placed on property as a
basis for Taxation.
Special taxes imposed to pay for
public improvements beneficial to a limited area.
A transfer of all of an interest
in Personal Property.
The Party to whom the Assignment
The Party who makes an
An agreement to undertake a debt
or obligation contracted by another.
A seizure of property by Judicial
Process during the Pendency of an Action.
An Agent authorized to act for
another under a “Power-of-Attorney”.
[B] [Back to Top]
As used in a Trust Deed, the
Beneficiary is the Lender.
A written instrument evidencing
the transfer of Title to Personal Property.
One who buys property, in good
faith, for a fair value, and without notice of adverse claims or rights of third
[C] [Back to Top]
A chronological list of recorded
instruments affecting the Title to land.
Any property pledged as security
for a debt, e.g., the real estate pledged as security for the payment of an
indebtedness secured by a Mortgage or Deed of Trust.
The Assignment of a debt and the
security therefore, such as a Note and Deed of Trust to secure the performance
of an obligation by the Assignor.
The Assignee holds Title for security purposes.
Property acquired by husband or
wife or both during marriage other than by gift, or as an heir, legatee, or
The exercise of the power of
Eminent Domain, i.e., the taking of property for a public use upon payment of
just compensation; also refers to Condemnation of unsafe structures under the
A statutory estate in land
consisting of Ownership of a divided interest, i.e., an individually owned
airspace unit, in a multi-family or other structure; together with an undivided
interest in the common areas.
Confirmation of Sale
Court approval of the sale of
property by an Executor, Administrator, Guardian, or Conservator.
A person appointed by the Probate
Court to take care of the person and/or property of an adult person who is not
competent to act for himself or herself.
The inducement for entering into
a contract; it consists of either a benefit to the Promisor, or a loss or
detriment to the Promisee.
Notice given by the public
records of a claim of Ownership or interest in property. Generally, the law presumes that one has
the same knowledge of instruments properly recorded as if one were actually
acquainted with them.
Being in actual contact;
adjoining or touching.
Dependent upon an uncertain
A loan secured by a Mortgage or
Deed of Trust which is not insured or guaranteed by a Governmental Agency.
A written instrument transferring
the Title to land or an interest therein from one Party to another.
An artificial being, created by
law; and possessing certain rights, privileges, and duties of natural persons.
Agreements contained in Deeds and
other instruments for the performance or non-performance of certain acts, or the
use or non-use of property in a certain manner.
[D] [Back to Top]
A deceased person.
An order of the Probate Court
distributing property to persons entitled thereto.
A gift or grant of land by the
Owner for a public use. A
dedication to be effective must be accepted by or on behalf of the public.
Written instrument by which the
Ownership of land is transferred from one Party to another.
Deed of Trust
A written instrument by which
Title to an interest in land is transferred by the Trustor to a Trustee as
security for a loan or other obligation due a Beneficiary. Also, called Trust Deed.
Failure to perform a duty or to
discharge an obligation.
A Party against whom a Legal
Action is brought.
A Personal Judgment in a Judicial
Foreclosure Action for the amount remaining due after a sale of the security.
A written contract used when
accepting “Earnest Money” to bind an offer for property by a prospective
A disposition of real property by
One who receives real property by
To deprive of a right or Title.
An original or official paper
relied upon as the basis, proof, or support of anything.
A tax on transfers of Title to
Real Property when consideration is $100.00 or more.
The land benefited by an
A person to whom a gift is made.
A person who makes a gift.
[E] [Back to Top]
A good faith deposit given to
bind a contract between Buyer and Seller.
A limited right or interest in
land of another that entitles the holder of the right to some use, privilege, or
benefit out of or over the land (e.g., to install pole lines, pipelines, roads,
The power to take private
property for a public purpose upon payment of just compensation.
The extension of an improvement
onto the property of another.
A lien or charge on land.
A writing on a negotiable
instrument by which property mentioned therein is assigned and transferred. Also, a notation on an instrument to
change, clarify, or enlarge its contents.
In insurance – a provision or
rider added to the Insurance Policy to alter the terms of the Insurance
Title of the Purchaser under a
Contract of Sale or the right to acquire the Legal Title.
Property value in excess of
Mortgage and other liens.
Forfeiture of Title to property
to the State – either Real or Personal.
A transaction in which an
impartial third Party acts as Agent for both Seller and Buyer, or for both
Borrower and Lender, in carrying out Instructions, delivering papers and
documents, and disbursing funds.
The degree, nature, and extent of
the interest a person has in Real Property.
A doctrine which bars one from
asserting rights which are inconsistent with a previous position or
A deduction, subtraction, or
A male person or a legal entity
who is designated in a Will as the representative of a Decedent’s Estate.
A female person or legal entity
who is designated in a Will as the representative of a Decedent’s Estate.
An immunity from some burden or
Agreement granting further time
[F] [Back to Top]
An exact and precise copy.
An Estate of Inheritance.
Fictitious Deed of
A recorded Deed of Trust
containing general provisions but naming no Parties and describing no
property. It is used for reference
only in a short form Deed of Trust.
One who holds something of value
in trust for another.
A Personal Property Security
Instrument which replaced a Chattel Mortgage upon adoption of the Uniform
A thing which was originally
Personal Property but which has become attached to and is considered as part of
the Real Property.
A proceeding to enforce a lien by
a sale of the property in order to satisfy the debt.
A loss of some right, title,
estate, or interest in consequence of Default under an obligation.
A right or privilege conferred by
Law or Contract.
[G] [Back to Top]
A Statutory Proceeding whereby
property, money, or credits of a Debtor in possession of another are seized and
applied to payment of the debt.
Restrictions on the use of
property imposed for the benefit of more than one parcel of property, usually a
tract containing many lots.
A transfer of Real Property.
The person to whom a grant is
The person who makes a grant.
A lease of the land only.
A person appointed by the Probate
Court to care for the person and/or estate of a minor or incompetent person.
[H] [Back to Top]
The persons designated by law to
succeed to the Estate of a Decedent who leaves no Will.
A residential parcel upon which
the Owner has recorded a “Declaration of Homestead” pursuant to California Law,
which, to an extent, protects it against forces sale.
To give a thing as security
without parting with possession.
[I] [Back to Top]
Presumed or inferred, rather than
Funds collected by a Lender from
a Borrower to guarantee payment of such items as Taxes and Hazard Insurance
Premiums when due.
Land upon which building have
Incapable of managing one’s
An agreement to compensate
another Party for a potential loss.
A “Hold-Harmless” agreement.
Same as Endorsement.
A Tax imposed upon the privilege
of succeeding to the Title of Real and Personal Property of a Decedent.
A Promissory Note providing for
payment of the principal in two or more certain amounts at different stated
A writing, such as a Deed, made
and executed as the expression of some act, contract, or proceeding.
An interest in property of such a
nature that the occurrence of the event insure4d against would cause financial
loss to the insured. Such interests
may be that of an Owner, a Mortgagee, a Lessee, a Trustee, etc.
A short tem loan under
circumstances anticipating a subsequent long term loan.
A Decree that does not finally
dispose of a Cause of Action but requires that some further steps be taken.
To accrue to the benefit of a
A lien created by operation of
Not to be revoked or withdrawn.
[J] [Back to Top]
Title held by two or more persons
in equal shares with right of survivorship.
A form of business organization
composed of two or more natural or artificial persons to conduct a single
enterprise for profit.
A Statutory Lien created by
recording an “Abstract of a Judgment”.
A subordinate lien.
A certificate evidencing the fact
that an Affidavit was properly made before an Authorized Officer.
The right of a Court to make a
decision concerning the subject matter in a given case. The power to hear and determine a
[K] [Back to Top]
[L] [Back to Top]
A Contract for the possession of
land in consideration of payment of rent.
A gift of Personal Property by
will, usually money.
A description or Real Property
sufficient to locate it by reference to Government Surveys or recorded maps.
One to whom Personal Property is
given by will.
The tenant under a lease.
The landlord under a lease.
A seizure of property by Judicial
A charge upon property for the
payment of a debt or performance of an obligation. A form of encumbrance. Taxes, Special Assessments, and
Judgments, as well as Mortgages, are liens. In addition, there are Mechanic’s and
Materialmen’s Liens for furnishing labor or materials.
An Estate measured by the life of
a natural person.
A Partnership composed of one or
more general partners and one or more limited partners, whose contribution and
liability are limited.
A recorded notice of the filing
of an Action.
An Endorsement to an Insurance
Policy (Hazard) specifying parties (Lenders) entitled to participate in proceeds
in the event of a loss.
[M] [Back to Top]
A Title free from reasonable
doubt in Law and in fact.
The price that property would
reasonably be expected to bring if it were offered for sale with a reasonable
sales effort over a reasonable period of time.
A Statutory Lien in favor of
laborers and materialmen who have contributed to a work of improvement.
The absorption of one Estate in
Measurements and boundaries.
A person under 18 years of age.
Objects or marks used to fix or
establish a boundary.
A two Party security document
pledging land as security for the payment of a debt or performance of an
The Party who obtains the benefit
of a Mortgage (the Lenders).
The Party who executes a Mortgage
[N] [Back to Top]
A person designated to take the
place of another.
An official appointed by the
Secretary of State to administer oaths, to authenticate Contracts, to
acknowledge Deeds, etc. A
California Notary may act as such in any part of the State.
A written acknowledgment of a
debt by a Borrower including a promise of payment in accordance with specified
terms; an evidence of debt; the credit instrument. Also referred to as Promissory Note.
A notice that work has ceased; a
notice recorded within the time periods which is specified by statute, limiting
the time for filing Mechanic’s Liens on an incomplete project.
A notice recorded within the time
period specified by statute, after completion of a work improvement, signaling
commencement of the time period within which claims for Mechanic’s Liens must be
Recorded notice that a Default
has occurred under the terms of a Deed of Trust.
Notice recorded by an Owner of
Real Property that he will not be responsible for payment of Mechanic’s Liens
for work contracted by another.
[O] [Back to Top]
One who places himself under a
A Statement furnished to Escrow
from a tenant regarding status of rental and his rights of possession; also, by
an Owner of land subject to an encumbrance, as to the balance due.
A Mortgage (or Deed of Trust)
which secures additional advances made by a Lender in addition to the original
principal amount of the loan.
A Right to require an act to be
done in the future.
The right to the use and
enjoyment of property, or an interest therein generally to the exclusion of
[P] [Back to Top]
An association of two or more
persons as Co-Owners to carry on a business for profit.
A conveyance of the title to
government lands by the government.
Movable property; all property
which is not Real Property.
Property consisting of Chattels as contrasted to real estate; e.g.,
furniture, car, clothing.
The Party who brings a Court
A written authorization to an
Agent to perform specified acts on behalf of his principal. May be a “General Power” or a “Limited
That which may be assumed without
Assumed correct until overcome by
One who employs an Agent to act
on his behalf; or the chief or foremost Party in a particular transaction; or
the amount of a loan exclusive of interest; or the assets constituting a Trust
That which is earlier or previous
in point of time or right, such as first Deed of Trust is ahead of or has
priority over a second Deed of Trust.
To divide, distribute or assess
Purchase Money Mortgage (Deed
A Mortgage (Deed of Trust)
securing payment of all or portion of the Purchase Price of Real Property.
[Q] [Back to Top]
An Action to establish Title to
Real Property or to remove a cloud on Title.
A Deed which conveys whatever
present Right, Title or Interest the grantor may have.
[R] [Back to Top]
Land and buildings as opposed to
Personal Property or Chattels.
A document extinguishing the Lien of a Deed of Trust.
Filing for record in the Office
of the County Recorder.
Buying back one’s property after
a Judicial Sale. See Right of
A Legal Action to correct a
mistake in a Deed or other document.
The curing of all defaults by a
Borrower, i.e., the restoration of a loan to current status through payment of
A clause in a Deed of Trust
providing for release of specified portions of the property upon compliance with
The act of canceling or annulling
the effect of a document.
The right or an interest retained
by a Grantor in a conveyance.
Limitations on the use and
enjoyment of property.
A supplement to, an addition to,
an Endorsement to a document.
A legally enforceable right
provided by Law under certain conditions permitting the Owner to reclaim
Foreclosed Property by making full payment of the Mortgage debt or the
Foreclosure Sales Price, as applicable.
The Right of Redemption exists for a specified period of time, known as
the Redemption Period. Junior lien
claimants may also have such right.
The right to cross over a parcel
[S] [Back to Top]
Performance of the terms of an
An impression upon a document
which lends authenticity to its execution, i.e. a Corporate Seal or Notary Seal.
Collateral; property pledged to
secure repayment of a debt.
Document now used in place of a
Chattel Mortgage as evidence of a Lien on Personal Property., A financing Statement may be recorded to
give Constructive Notice of the Security Agreement.
A deposit made to assure
performance of an obligation.
Property acquired before
marriage, and property acquired during marriage by gift, devise, descent, or
An Estate burdened by an
A Legal Action to compel
performance of an agreement.
A brief written statement of
facts relied upon by Title Insurers to assist in the identification of persons
executing the Statement.
A lease of less than all of the
interest held by an original Lessee to a Sublessee.
An agreement under which a lien
is made inferior to another lien.
To substitute one person in the
place of another with reference to an obligation.
The receiving of property by
A Party that binds itself with
another, called the principal, for the performance of an obligation.
A map or plat containing a
statement of courses, distances and quantity of land and showing lines of
A pooling arrangement or
association of persons investing in Real Property by buying an interest in an
[T] [Back to Top]
A Deed issued to the Purchaser at
a Tax Sale.
Ownership of property by two or
more persons in equal or unequal undivided interests without right of
An unconditional offer of payment
of a debt or to fully satisfy an obligation.
Evidence of a person’s right or
the extent of his interest in property.
Subdivision of the public lands
of the United States; each township usually contains 36 sections; a section
usually contains 640 acres.
A fiduciary relationship in which
a Trustee holds Title to property for the benefit of others.
See Deed of Trust.
The person to whom property is
conveyed in Trust.
The person who conveys property
[U] [Back to Top]
A Legal Action to recover
possession of Real Property.
The charge of a greater rate of
interest for the loan of money than is permitted by law.
[V] [Back to Top]
An Affidavit attached to a
pleading or other document which states that the matters set forth are true.
Against (abbreviated vs. or
To give immediate, fixed right in
property, with either present or future enjoyment of possession; also denotes
the manner in which Title is held.
Having no legal effect; null.
[W] [Back to Top]
A relinquishment or abandonment
of a right.
A disposition of property
effective upon the maker’s death; often referred to as “Last Will and
A process of the Court under
which property may be seized and sold.
[X] [Back to Top]
[Y] [Back to Top]
[Z] [Back to Top]
Governmental regulations relating
to the use of property.