Abandonment
The voluntary relinquishment of rights of ownership or another interest (such as an easement) by failure to use the property, coupled with an intent to abandon (give up the interest).  

Abstract
A condensed history of the title to a parcel of real property consisting of copies of all documents from the public record that affect that parcel such as deeds, mortgages, encumbrances, easements, marriages, deaths, divorces, liens, etc.

Abstract of Title
A summary prepared by a licensed abstractor of all documents recorded in the public records of the political subdivision where the land is located. An abstract in some states or areas is reviewed by an attorney or other experienced title examiner to determine the status of title. Virtually every abstractor today provides actual copies of the records rather than an abstract of each document.

Access
Ingress and Egress

Acknowledgement
A formal declaration before a duly authorized officer (such as a notary public) by a person who has executed an instrument that such execution is his own act and deed. An acknowledgment is necessary to entitle an instrument (with certain specific exceptions) to be recorded, to impart constructive notice of its contents and to entitle the instrument to be used as evidence without further proof. The certificate of acknowledgment is attached to the instrument or incorporated therein.

Adjustable Mortgage Loans (Adjustable Rate Mortgage-ARM)
Mortgage loans under which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current rates. The amounts and times of adjustment are agreed to at the inception of the loan. Also called: Adjustable Rate Loans, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM'S), Flexible Rate Loans, Variable Rate Loans.

Adverse Possession
A process of acquiring title to real property by possession for a certain (statutory) period of time, in addition to fulfilling other conditions.

Affidavit
A written statement or declaration, sworn to before an officer who has authority to administer an oath.  

Agent
One who has authorization, either expressed or implied, to act for or represent another party, usually in business matters, such as issuing title insurance policies on behalf of a title insurer for a portion of the premium.  

ALTA: ( American Land Title Association)
Organization composed of title insurance firms which sets standards for the industry, including title insurance policy forms used on a national basis.

ALTA Format
Standard American Land Title Association (ALTA) format for commitments, policies and miscellaneous title insurance forms. All ATG forms are standard ALTA format.

Amendment
A change either to alter, add to, or correct part of an agreement without changing the principal idea or essence.  

Amortization
A payment plan which enables the borrower to reduce his debt gradually through monthly payments of principal.

Amortized Loan
A loan that is paid off, both interest and principal, by regular payments that are equal or nearly equal.  

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The yearly interest percentage of a loan, as expressed by the actual rate of interest paid. For example: 6% add-on interest would be much more than 6% simple interest, even though both would say 6%. The APR is disclosed as a requirement of federal truth in lending statutes.

Appraisal
An opinion of value based upon a factual analysis. Legally, an estimation of value by two disinterested persons of suitable qualifications.

Assessment
A nonrecurring charge levied against property to meet some specific purpose portioned either by benefit derived to property or based on value of property (value for taxation).

Assessed Value
The value placed on a piece of real estate for the purpose of taxation.

Assignment
The transfer of an interest in a bond, mortgage, lease or other instrument by writing.

Assumption
The act of acquiring title to property that has an existing mortgage and agreeing to be personally liable for the terms and conditions of the mortgage, including payments.

Assumption of Mortgage
The purchaser takes over mortgage payments for the balance of the loan, assuming primary liability. Unless specifically released by the lender, the seller remains secondarily liable.

Attachment
The legal seizure of property to force payment of debt.