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Glossary: Shared Boundaries

When negotiating boundaries or settling a boundary dispute with a neighbor, it helps to understand the terminology that applies to shared boundaries. For example, "consideration," in this context, refers to money or other compensation given in exchange for permission to enter or use another's property.

Acre: You can learn more about land uses and breakdowns of land sizes, including those around acreage at FindLaw's Land Use and Zoning Basics

Acceleration clause: A clause (usually in a loan or mortgage agreement) that accelerates the payment date in full under circumstances specified in the agreement. These circumstances are usually used as a default by the debtor)

Adjustable rate mortgage: A mortgage loan doesn't need a fixed interest rate. During the lifespan of the loan, the interest rate will change based on the index rate. The index rate and the change collectively are referred to as adjustable mortgage loans (AMLs) or variable-rate mortgages (VRMs)

Adverse possession: You can learn more about adverse possession by reviewing FindLaw's breakdown

Air space right: The granted right to use the air space above real estate

Amortization: The gradual payment of a debt done through a schedule of payments; can also be through the writing off of an intangible asset, where the writing off is against expenses over the period of its useful life

Annual percentage rate: An APR:

  • Is a measure of the cost of credit that is expressed as a yearly rate
  • Includes interest as well as other charges
  • Is a higher rate than the simple interest of the mortgage

Appurtenance: Property as an outbuilding or fixture; can also be a property right, such as right of way. This property is incidental to a principal property

Borrower: A person who has been approved to receive a loan. They are then obligated to repay it and any additional fees according to the loan terms

Boundary: The separating or dividing line or mark between two adjoining properties

Consideration: Money, right, or other thing of value given in exchange for entering into the property agreement

Chain of title: The succession of conveyances of a title to a particular item of real property (such as a house). It's usually stated or shown in an abstract of title

Closing costs: Fees for final property transfer that aren't included in the price of the property

Creditor: A person to whom a debt is owed

Condominium: You can learn more about this type of property from FindLaw's discussion

Construction loan: A short-term loan used to finance the cost of building a new home

Deed of trust: A written instrument a person uses to transfer ownership of real property to another person

Depreciation: Any decrease in the value of property. It's used for the purpose of taxation. Depreciation also:

  • Can't be offset by current repairs
  • Is carried on company books as a yearly charge
  • Amortizes the original cost over the useful life of the property

Due-on-sale clause: A provision within a loan allowing the lender to demand full repayment of the loan. This type of repayment can only be demanded if the property is sold

Dominant estate: Land that benefits from an easement on a servient estate

Down payment: The portion of a home's purchase price that's paid in cash; it's not part of the mortgage loan

Earnest money: Money used as earnest

Easement: The right to use the property of another person

Easement by necessity: The right to use another's property that comes about when that person grants property, and either the grantor's property or the grantor's property and a third person's property cuts off access of the granted land to any road

Easement by prescription: A method of acquiring the title to real estate by way of personal continued use for a long period of time

Easement of access: The right of a landowner to cross over another person's land in order to access the street

Eminent domain: You can learn more about eminent domain at FindLaw's breakdown

Encroachment: You can learn more about encroachment by reading FindLaw's resource

Encumbrance: You can learn more about encumbrances at FindLaw's resource

Environmental indemnity: Part of an easement in which the parties agree that the person to whom an easement is granted will indemnify and hold harmless the person granting the easement with regard to any environmental liability caused by the grantee's use of the property

Escrow: A separate account into which a lender puts a portion of each monthly mortgage payment

Egress: You can learn more at this breakdown

Existing mortgage: When you take on an additional home loan, already having an existing mortgage (learn more here)

Fee simple: A fee that's alienable, such as by deed, will, or intestacy. It can be of potentially indefinite duration

Federal Housing Administration (FHA): An agency within the federal government, this group handles housing-related policy

Foreclosure: When a mortgage goes into default, the person that has taken out the mortgage will be subject to a foreclosure. In a foreclosure, the lender seizes the property associated with the mortgage

Fiduciary: A person who acts or an obligation to act in the interests of an organization

Good faith: The absence of any intent to defraud, act maliciously, or take unfair advantage

Housing and Urban Development, Department of (HUD): Another agency in the United States government, this organization handles developing and implementing policy related to housing and urban development

Improvement: An addition to real estate that improves its value

Insurance company: A company that provides insurance, often of many kinds, including homeowners insurance

Insurance premiums: Payments paid monthly for an insurance plan

Intestate: When a person dies without a will

Joint tenancy: When two or more people are parties as the tenants to a lease agreement or other agreement requiring lessors and lessees

Lateral support: The right of a property owner to have his or her land supported by the land that lies next to it

Land contract: A contract related to uses of land

Leasehold: Another name for a lease

Lender: A person or entity that funds a purchase in exchange often for interest on the principal amount of a loan

Lessee: A person that takes a lease

Lessor: A person that owns the property that the lessee is leasing

Market value: The value that something goes for on a market

Mechanic's lien: You can learn more about this at FindLaw's resource

Metes and bounds: The boundaries or limits of a tract of land; it usually refers to lines and distances between points on the land

Monument: The indicator of the boundary lines and corners on real property that takes the form of a pillar, marker, stake, or post, or a natural object such as a tree or boulder

Mortgage broker: A person that helps another person take out a mortgage

Mortgagor: The person that takes out a mortgage

Mortgage lender: The bank or financial institution that provides a person with a loan

Mortgage loan: The loan on a piece of property

National Association of Realtors (NAR): A national group that provides resources to realtors

Notary public: A notary public is a person certified by the government to notarize documents

Nuisance: The unlawful or unreasonable use of one's own property in a manner that causes such inconvenience, annoyance, and discomfort as to injure or damage the rights of another person or of the public in general

Occupancy: The activity of occupying a piece of land

Parcel of land: A unit of land

Partition: Dividing real estate between co-owners, such as joint tenants, into individually owned portions

Promissory note: You can learn more about promissory notes at FindLaw's resource

Power of attorney: A legal authority granted to a person to act on another person's behalf, when that person cannot do so themselves

Probate: You can learn more about this at FindLaw's breakdown

Purchase price: The price at which a purchase is made

Property taxes: Taxes on property

Public records: Records made publicly available by any given entity

Quitclaim deed: You can find a catalogue of definitions of deeds, including quitclaim deeds, at this resource

Real estate broker: A person who helps people find and purchase real estate

Refinancing: Typically, the taking out of additional loans on a home

Restrictive covenant: An agreement about the permitted and prohibited uses of the property

Right-of-way: The right to pass over or across another person's property

Riparian rights: The rights of the property owner whose land is on the bank of a river, stream, or other watercourse to use the water for any beneficial purpose

Servient estate: The land that is burdened by an easement

Spite fence: A fence with no useful purpose that a property owner erects and maintains for the sole purpose of annoying his or her neighbor by obstructing the neighbor's view or access to light

Subjacent support: The right of a property owner to have his or her land supported by the land that lies under it

Survey: To ascertain where the boundaries, corners, and dividing lines are on a piece of real estate by using measurements and distances; also, the name for the map, plat, or statement of the results of a survey

Survivorship: A right of one or more joint tenants who have survived another to take the interest of the person who has died

Title company: A company that handles titles to property

Title search: A means by which you can search for information related to a title

Title insurance policy: An insurance policy on a title; it's used in the event of an issue with the title on a piece of property

Undivided interest: Interest that is not divided amongst parties

Warranty deed: You can find a catalogue of definitions of deeds, including warranty deeds, at this resource

Written agreement: An agreement in writing

Zoning: A way of breaking down regions of cities

Need More Help? Contact a Lawyer

By law, there are many requirements related to real estate. There are also many laws related to how people must conduct themselves with respect to shared boundaries. It's important to know what the terms defined above mean. But if you need more help, it's always a good idea to consult with an attorney about real estate transactions.

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