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Vocabulary of Property Listing Terms

Abstract of Title: A summary of the public records relating to the title to a particular piece of land. An attorney or title insurance company reviews an abstract of title to determine whether there are any title defects which must be cleared before a buyer can purchase.

The process through which conclusions of property value are obtained, also refers to the report that sets forth the process of estimation and conclusion of value.

Assessment: The imposition of a tax, charge, or levy, usually according to established rates.

Conveyance: A written instrument which evidences a transaction in which any interest in land is created, alienated, mortgaged, assigned or "otherwise affected in law or in equity".

Deed: A written instrument that, when executed and delivered, convey title to or an interest in real estate.

Deed Restriction: Clauses in a deed limiting the future uses of the property.

Document: Any written instrument meeting all statutory requirements which may be recorded or filed with the Register of Deeds, the image or original document is stored and accessible through various indexed by the general public unless the document is confidential.

Document Copy: An exact reproduction of a document.

Easement: A right to use the land of another for a specific purpose, such as for a right-of-way or utilities; an incorporeal interest in land. An easement appurtenant passes with the land when conveyed.

Foreclosure: A legal procedure whereby property used as security for a debt is sold to satisfy the debt in the event of default in payment of the mortgage. The foreclosure procedure bring the rights of all parties to a conclusion and passes the title of the mortgaged property to either the holder of the mortgage or a third party who may purchase the realty at the foreclosure sale.

Grantee: A person who receives a conveyance of real property from the grantor.

Grantor: The person transferring the title to or an interest in real property to a grantee.

Improvement: An improvement on land is any structure, usually privately owned, erected on a site to enhance the value of the property. An improvement to land is usually a publicly owned structure, such as a curb sidewalk, street or sewer.

Land: The earth's surface, extending downward to the center of the earth and upward infinitely into space.

Land Contract: A contract for the sale of real estate wherein the purchase price is paid in periodic installments by the purchaser, who is in possession of the property even though title is retained by the seller until final payment.

Legal Description: A description of a specific parcel of real estate complete enough for an independent surveyor to locate and identify it. The description is by subdivision name, lot and block in a platted subdivision, by certified survey map and lot number, or in unplatted lands, it is identified according to the town, range, section and quarter section and metes and bounds associated with the Public Land Survey System or Private Claims or Government Lots.

Lot-and-Block Description: A description of real property that identifies a parcel of land by reference to lot and block numbers within a subdivision, as specified on a plat of subdivision duly recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds.

Metes-and-Bounds Description: A legal description of a parcel of land that begins at a well marked point and follows the boundaries, using directions and distances around the tract back to the place of beginning. Wisconsin statutes now require that the point of beginning be referenced to at least one Public Land Survey System monument.

Monument: A fixed natural or artificial object used to establish real estate boundaries for a metes-and-bounds description.

Parcel: A specific tract of real estate defined by a legal description and used for taxing purposes, among others. Also termed a surveyor's parcel and a tax parcel.

Plat: A map of a town, section, or subdivision indicating the location and boundaries of individual properties.

Quit Claim Deed: A conveyance by which the grantor transfers whatever interest he or she has in the real estate, without warranties or obligations.

Recording: The act of entering or recording documents affecting or conveying interests in real estate in the office of the Register of Deeds established in each Wisconsin county. Documents are recorded to protect the interests of persons involved and to provide constructive notice of rights and interests in land. Documents accepted for recording are time stamped, receive a unique document number, are indexed, the image captured and the original document is sent back to the returnee.

Section: A portion of a township under the Public Land Survey System. A section is approximately one mile by one mile and 640 acres. A township is divided into 36 sections.

Subdivision: A tract of land divided by the owner, known as the subdivider, into blocks, building lots, and streets according to a recorded subdivision plat, which must comply with state regulations and the local subdivision ordinance.

Survey: The process by which boundaries are measured and land areas are determined; usually performed by a land surveyor.

Title Insurance: A policy insuring the owner against loss by reason of defects in the title to a parcel of real estate, other than encumbrances, defects, and matters specifically excluded by the policy.

Township: The principal unit of the Public Land Survey System. A township is square with approximately six-mile sides and an area of 36 square miles.

Warrenty Deed: A deed in which the grantor fully warrents good clear title to the property. Used in most real estate deed transfers, a warrenty deed offers the greatest protection of any deed.