Definitions and Terms

Title insurance can be confusing!  Let’s demiystify some of the jargon so that the termonology makes some sense!

Below you’ll find some common terms related to title insurance.  Simply click on the question, and a dialogue box will open with the answers.

Of course, we are always willing to help!  Call us at 734-250-7173.

TITLE DEFINITIONS AND TERMS: 

(Click on the topic to open for answers.)

Title Insurance

Title Insurance is a form of indemnity insurance that protects a person or company against financial losses resulting from defects or imperfections in title to real estate.

Title Searches

A review of the records recorded against a given piece of real estate, including ownership records, mortgages, liens (and discharges of those) and other items recorded against the property in question. 

Lien Searches

A search of liens recorded or filed against a piece of real estate, or an individual.  Examples of these are mortgages, collection of municipal, state or federal taxes, or unpaid judgments of a court.

Current Owner Searches

A search of the public records to determine the owner(s) of a piece of real estate, according to the public records. 

1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges

Simply put, a 1031 Exchange is a form of “Swap” of an investment property that is similar to another, without having to pay a capital gains tax.  (for example, selling one investment property, and buying a similar property, within a given time frame, without having to pay a capital gains tax). 

Deed Preparation

Title companies can assist in preparing the deed to the home being sold or conveyed, ensuring the names of the parties, and all relevant information, such as the Tax ID number and the property’s legal description, is correct. 

Mobile Closings

A process of closing a sale, a mortgage (or both) with a Notary Public at a location away from the bank, real estate agent’s office or the title company, such as at the borrower’s home or office. 

HUD Approved

Title and escrow agencies who are approved by the United States Department of Housing and  
Urban Development. 

Closing and Escrow Services

A process common with title companies in Michigan, where the title company provides the  
Notary Public closing agent to witness and gather the signatures needed, collect documentation, 
money needed for closing; and escrow services, where the title company holds the money  
needed to close, such as earnest money deposits, and the lender’s or buyer’s other funds, in a 
neutral, third-party’s control (in this case, the title company) to disburse at closing. 

Refinance

The process of a homeowner giving a mortgage to a bank, in exchange for money lent to them, 
using their real estate or other property, as security (or “collateral”) for the loan. 

Construction

Improvements to a piece of real estate – such as building a new house, expanding an existing  
house or building, building a new garage, or remodeling the inside of an existing building. 

FSBO

Often pronounced “Fizz-Bow,” a process where a seller places their home for sale, without the 
official assistance of a real estate agent. 

Vacant Land

Property that has no existing structure built on it, or is otherwise unoccupied.

VA Loans

Loans guaranteed and insured by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to those  
eligible current or former members of the United States military, or other qualifying federal 
service. 

Commercial

Real estate subject to, or under the control of, a business, for business purposes, or is zoned for 
commercial or business enterprises. 

Multi-family

Property developed or built for the purposes of housing multiple families, such as a duplex, a  
multi-unit condominium building, or an apartment or multi-unit townhouse development.