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Real Estate Words Glossary Archive

Trust deed

A document used in place of a mortgage in certain states; a third-party trustee, not the lender, holds the title to the property until the loan is paid out or defaulted. Also called a deed of trust.


Usually a two- or three-story dwelling with shared walls, or a living unit operating under the condominium or townhouse form of ownership.

Title search

A professional examination of public records to determine the chain of ownership of a particular piece of property and to note any liens, encumbrances, easements, restrictions, or other factors that might affect the title.

Title report

A statement of the current condition of title for a parcel of land.

Title insurance

An insurance policy that protects against any losses incurred because of defects in the title not listed in the title report or abstract.


Actual ownership; the right of possession; also the evidence of ownership such as a deed or bill of sale.


Part ownership of a property coupled with a right to exclusive use of it for a specified number of days per year.

Tenants in common

Style of ownership in which two or more persons purchase a property jointly, but with no right of survivorship and separate undivided interests. They are free to will their share to anyone they choose, a principal difference between this form of ownership and joint tenancy.

Tenancy by the entirety

A form of joint ownership reserved for married persons; right of survivorship exists and neither spouse has a disposable interest during the lifetime of the other.

Tax shelter

A realty investment that produces income-tax deductions for its owner.

Tax sale

A court-ordered sale of real property to raise money to cover delinquent taxes.

Tax rate

The rate at which real property is taxed in a tax district or county. For example, in a certain county, real property may be taxed at a rate of 55 mills (or 0.055) per dollar of assessed valuation.

Tax basis

The price paid for a property plus certain costs and expenses, such as closing costs, legal counsel, and a commission paid to help find the property.

Tax credit

An allowed deduction that can be subtracted from your income tax. If you are entitled to a $1,500 credit, and your income tax would otherwise be $10,000, the credit would reduce the tax due to $8,500.


An exact measurement of the size and boundaries of a piece of land by civil engineers or surveyors.