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Use this Title and Escrow Terminology to Help You Through the Process

July 18, 2017

When it comes to real estate and title, you might be surprised at the amount of industry terminology that more than likely you are not using on a daily basis. From the finances to escrow, there are various elements involved in the real estate process, each requiring a specific vocabulary. With regards to title and escrow, industry jargon can often be difficult to follow. Learn some of the terminology so that you’re better able to understand the title and escrow process during your next real estate transaction.

Chain of Title

A listing of a property’s owners from the first owner to the current owner.

Clear Title

A title to a property without any encumbrances.


The last stage of the real estate process where the final transaction is made and the title is transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Cloud on Title

Something that would inhibit a clear title like a document or encumbrance.

Deed of Trust
Issued as security for the lender, a deed of trust transfers the title to the real property through a third-party trustee.


When someone other than the owner claims a right to the property.

The process through which a third-party handles the paperwork and monetary transactions of a property transfer under the set conditions of the property sale.

The buyer of a property.

The seller of a property.

Hidden Defect

When a defect or encumbrance are not present on public records.

Joint Tenancy

When people share ownership of a property equally.

A document that provides security for debt owed by claiming an interest in real property.

Certification that a signature is valid through a Notary Public.

Perfecting Title
Working to remove any unjust claims on a title.

Quitclaim Deed

When the seller of a property releases the claim and title of a property to the buyer.


Filing records with the county recorder to take note of title, claim, or interest in real property.

Title Plant

Database created by title companies where they can reference title records to conduct a title search.

Describes how a property’s title is held.

To learn more about the title and escrow process and for more information on the services offered through FNT Orange County, contact your Fidelity National Title Sales Executive!