Real Estate Definitions
Tax sale: A sale of real property ordered by the court in order to raise money to cover delinquent taxes.
Tenancy in common: A version of joint tenancy of a property, but without any right of succession by survivorship among the owners.
Testate: To die having prepared and left a valid will.
Testator: The individual who makes out a last will and testament.
Time is of the essence: A condition in a contract requiring the completion of a certain act within a designated period of time.
Time-share: A form of ownership interest which allows use of the property only for a fixed or variable period of time.
Title: A legal document that evidences a person's ownership of and right to possess a property.
Title insurance: Insurance that protects the owner or mortgagee against loss arising from disputes over or defects in the title to a parcel of real estate that arise after ownership has been transferred.
Title search: Research into public title records to determine the current status of ownership of a piece of property; a licensed attorney must provide any legal interpretation of the records found.
Torrens Title: Now a dated system (only used in a few US states) whereby the court issues a certificate establishing the extent of an individual's estate, including any exceptions noted.
Township: A division of land that is six miles square, containing 36 square-mile sections.
Tract: A specific parcel of land.
Transfer of ownership: Any circumstance in which the ownership of a property changes hands, e.g., via outright, titled purchase, or the assumption of an existing on a property, or possession of the property via a land sales trust, even any transfer of a beneficial interest in the trust.
Transfer tax: State or local taxes imposed on a transfer of ownership of real property.
Trust: A right to a piece of property that is held for the benefit of another.
Trust deed, or a Deed of trust: A written document that grants the trustee the title to a piece of property for the benefit of another, and which gives the trustee the power to sell, mortgage or subdivide the property.
Trustee: A party who holds property for the benefit of another.
Trustee's deed: A deed conveying land ownership executed by the trustee who holds the land in trust.
Trustor: The borrower in a trust loan transaction.
Truth-in-Lending: A federal law that requires disclosure by a credit institution or lender of the terms and conditions of a loan or mortgage, including the annual percentage rate and any other charges, to the borrower when they apply for the loan. Also see Regulation Z.
Two-step mortgage: An adjustable-rate mortgage that charges a below-market interest rate for a designated number of years (usually 5 or 7) after which the interest rate is adjusted to the current market conditions.