Title Insurance 101

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Title Insurance Terminology:

The surrender, relinquishment, disclaimer, or cession of property or of rights to property.

To put an end to.

Ab Initio
From the beginning.

A brief summary.

Abstract of Title
A condensed history or summary of all transactions affecting a particular tract of land.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Mortgages with an interest rate that may change up or down depending on an indicator. These are usually based something like the current Treasury bill rate.

A sworn statement in writing.

All-Inclusive Title insurance
Pennsylvania Title Insurance that includes all charges in one premium.

To reduce a debt by means of regular periodic payments that include amounts applicable to both principal and interest.

APR – Annual percentage rate
Annual Percentage Rate, a measure of the cost of the credit that must be reported by lenders under Truth in Lending regulations. APR takes into account the interest rate and up-front charges paid by borrower. On some mortgages the APR is higher than your actual mortgage rate.

A mortgage that allows a new owner to take over payments. The original borrower remains liable on the mortgage note.

Balloon Payment
Final installment payment of a promissory note larger than any single preceding installment payment.

A proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court wherein assets of a debtor (unable or unwilling to pay debts) are applied by an officer of the court in satisfaction of creditor claims.

Bench Mark
Location indicated on a durable marker by a land surveyor.

One for whose benefit a trust is created. A lender secured by a deed of trust.

Beneficiary’s Demand
Payment required by a beneficiary under a deed of trust before authorizing reconveyance.

Blanket Mortgage or Deed of Trust
A mortgage or deed of trust on more than one lot or parcel.

Bona Fide
In good faith.

Caveat Emptor
Let the buyer beware.

Certificate of Sale
Evidence of a purchaser’s acquisition of legal title at a judicial sale, subject to redemption rights, if any.

Certificate of Title
Certified statement as to land ownership based upon examination of record title.

A written document by which the ownership of land is transferred from one person to another. Title insurance is primarily based on records which include recorded documents, public records, files and the like. One of the most common of these documents is a deed — a written instrument transferring the title or an interest in real property from one party to another. There are a variety of types of deeds currently in use for the conveyance of title. The list that follows briefly describes the most common currently used.

  • Quitclaim Deed
    This deed conveys any possible interest of the grantor in said property at the date of the deed without representations of encumbrances on title arising from liens, easements, etc. It is usually used to release an estate or interest less than “fee” interest.
  • Grant Deed
    The most commonly used deed in California. It conveys all the title that the grantor has and any title the grantor may acquire in the future. It includes by statue covenants as to prior conveyance and encumbrance.
  • Deed of Trust
    Instrument used to secure a loan on real estate. Like a mortgage, a Deed of Trust is generally used in the South. The major difference is in how foreclosures are handled. Foreclosures are much faster with a Deed of Trust than with a mortgage. A Deed of Trust is used to convey the “dormant title” to land to another person or company as a “trustee”, in order to secure debts or other obligations. The trustee is given the power of sale of the land encumbered in the event of a default by the borrower.

Deposit or Earnest Money
Advance payment of part of the purchase price to bind a contract for property.

Due-on-Sale Clause
A provision in a mortgage or deed of trust that requires the loan to be paid in full if a property is a sold or transferred tract of land.

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

(1) A procedure whereby a disinterested third party handles legal documents and funds on behalf of a seller and buyer.
(2) Money that is kept by the mortgage company to ensure that taxes can be paid in full when due. Escrow is paid up-front on settlement sheet lines 1001 – 1006 and is added to the mortgage payment monthly over the principal and interest figure.

FNMA (Fannie-Mae)
The Federal National Mortgage Association, a federally sponsored private corporation which provides a secondary market for housing mortgages.

Fixed Rate Mortgages
Mortgages with a fixed interest rate. The payment for principal and interest will not change for the life of the loan, but the monthly payment may change if taxes or insurance rates change.

FHA – The Federal Housing Administration
An agency of the federal government that insures private loans for financing of new and existing housing and for home repairs under government approved programs.

FHLMC (Freddie Mac) – Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
An affiliate of the Federal Home Loan Bank that creates a secondary market in conventional residential loan and FHA and VA loans by purchasing mortgages from members of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

Legal process by which a mortgagor of real property is deprived of his interest in that property due to failure to comply with terms and conditions of the mortgage.

A person who acquires an interest in land by deed, grant or other written instrument.

A person who, by a written instrument, transfers to another interest in land.

Hazard insurance
The homeowner’s insurance policy.

One who might inherit or succeed to an interest in lands under the rules of law applicable where an individual dies without leaving a will.

A person who, by a written instrument, transfers to another interest in land.

Interest only payments
A mortgage where only the interest is paid on a monthly basis. This means that the buyer gets no equity. This is only used on some purchase money mortgages where the buyer is responsible for paying the seller the entire amount of the second mortgage at some time in the future.

A written document.

Loan origination fees
Money required by the lender to be paid to start the work of approving a mortgage.

A decree of a court.

A hold, a claim or charge allowed a creditor upon the lands of a debtor.

Mortgage Note
An instrument used to encumber land as security for a debt. This document gives the mortgage company “in rem” jurisdiction over the mortgagor.

A designation for the mortgage lender on property.

A designation for the mortgage borrower on property.

Mortgage Insurance Protection.

A written promise to pay a certain amount of money, at a certain time, or in a certain number of installments. It usually provides for payment of interest and its payment is at times secured by a mortgage.

  • The mortgage note document gives the mortgage company “in rem” jurisdiction over the mortgagor.
  • The promissory note document gives the mortgage company “in personam” jurisdiction over the mortgagor.

Paid outside of closing. Sometimes the lender requests this money before settlement. If you pay any charges before settlement they should be written on the settlement sheet. They are written on the proper line outside of your column. They should also be marked P.O.C.

A percentage point. Equal to one percent of the loan amount.

Power of Attorney
An instrument authorizing another to act on one’s behalf as his agent or attorney.

Private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender from the losses that would occur in the case of foreclosure.

PMM – Purchase Money Mortgage
A mortgage given by the seller simultaneously with the purchase of real estate to secure the unpaid balance of the purchase price.

To allocate between seller and buyer their proportionate share of an obligation paid or due.

Promissory Note
A promise to pay. The promissory note document gives the mortgage company “in personam” jurisdiction over the mortgagor.

Real Property
Land and that which is affixed to it.

Second Mortgage
A mortgage, the lien of which is subordinate to that of another mortgage.

The process of measuring land to determine its size, location and physical description and the resulting drawing or map.

Tax Service Fee
A fee paid to the mortgage company to verify that they actually pay the real estate taxes.

The evidence or right a person has to the ownership and possession of land.

Title Insurance
Insurance against loss or damage resulting in defects or failure of title to a particular parcel of real property.

Title Insurance Binder or Commitment
A report issued by a title insurance company binding or committing the title insurance company to issue the form of policy designated in the commitment or binder upon compliance with and satisfaction of requirements set forth in the commitment or binder.

Title Search
An examination of public records and court decisions to disclose the current facts regarding ownership of real estate.

Transfer taxes
Money paid to a city, county and/or state when property is sold.

VA – The Veterans Administration
The Veterans Administration insures mortgages. A VA Mortgage is a mortgage that is
guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Also known as a government mortgage.

A written document properly witnessed, providing for the distribution of property owned by the deceased

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Demand An Independent Title Agent to Protect Your Interests

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Published Date Written by Super User

All too often in our industry, Settlement Service Providers are selected based on the quality of the kickback being provided to other industry partners as opposed to the quality of service being provided to the consumer.

At Dallys Associates, we are a completely Independent Title Insurance Agent with no financial relationship to any other provider of Real Estate Services. Our clients come to Dallys Associates for one very simple reason; since 1984 we have provided the highest level of professional services to our clientele. We call it the Dallys Difference. Experience it for yourself!

Our services include:

  • Mortgage and Judgment Searches
  • Full Title Searches
  • Notary Services
  • Conveyancing
  • Clearing Titles
  • Real Estate Closings
  • Refinance Closings
  • Interfacing with Realtors and Lenders
  • Offsite and After Hours Closings for Your Convenience


About Us


Dallys Associates is a full-service Title Agency, proudly serving the Delaware Valley from our Blue Bell location since 1984. Our staff is comprosed entirely of career Title Insurance professionals with a combined 90 years experience in the industry. Our staff has faced every situation, handled every problem and we really know how to make the settlement process go smoothly for all parties. We know our products and procedures, we understand our customers, and we prize ethical and professional performance of our duties. Because of the respectful and personal character of our work, our customers often become our friends.

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