Terms Defined

The Real Estate Industry has its own unique language and, without some knowledge of this language, you may find yourself a bit confused if you become involved in a real estate transaction. Wayne County Title Agency, Inc. has compiled the following Definition of Terms commonly used in the real estate industry. Whether you are entering the real estate market for the first time or have invested in it before, this handy reference will provide an understanding of basic real estate words and phrases.

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The granting of land by the owner for some public use and its acceptance for such use by authorized public officials.


A formal written instrument duly executed and delivered by which title to real property is  transferred from one owner to another. The deed should contain an accurate description of the property being conveyed, should be signed and witnessed according to the laws of the State where the property is located, and should be delivered to the purchaser at closing day. There are two parties to a deed: the grantor and the grantee. Deeds must meet certain legal requirements in order to be effective.  Deeds must be recorded with the County Recorder in the same county in which the land is located.

Deed Restrictions

Limitations in the deed to a property that dictate certain uses that may or not be made of the property.


To avoid foreclosure ("in lieu" of foreclosure), a deed transfers ownership to the lender to fulfill the obligation to repay the debt; this process does not allow the borrower to remain in the house but helps avoid the costs, time, and effort associated with foreclosure.  The lender must consent to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Defective Title

Title to real property which lacks some of the elements necessary to transfer good title.

Deficiency Judgment

A judgment against a person liable for the debt secured by a mortgage in an amount by which the funds derived from a foreclosure or trustee’s sale are less than the amount due on the debt.

Demand Note

A note having no date for repayment, but due on demand of the lender.


A gift of land by will or to give land by will.  A devisee is the person to whom property is given by a will.


Federal Lead Based Paint Disclosure: This form is required only if your residence was built prior to 1978.  The federal government requires that you disclose any knowledge of lead based paint on the premises, as well as providing to your buyer a federally published booklet regarding the potential hazards of lead in the home.

Disclosures: State of Ohio Residential Property Disclosure

State law requires that the seller disclose their knowledge of the condition of the property to their buyers.  This is a description of the property as it is known to the seller at the time of the sale.  If the seller does not provide this to the buyer, the buyer may have the right to cancel the purchase agreement, subject to some limitations.

Discount Points

The amount of money the borrower or seller must pay the lender to get a mortgage at a stated interest rate. This amount is equal to the difference between the principal balance on the note and the lesser amount which a purchaser of the note would pay the original lender for it under market conditions.  A point equals one percent of the loan.

Dominant Estate

The property for the benefit of which a right-of-way easement exists across another’s adjoining piece of land is said to be the dominant estate. The land across which the easement runs is said to be the servient estate.


An estate for life to which a married person by statute is entitled on the death of her spouse. In most states it is a life estate of one third of the value of all land which the spouse owned during their marriage. Dower has been abolished by statute in some states. The reason for requiring a spouse’s joining in the deed of any land by there spouse is the release of their dower right.


Disbursement  of a portion of the mortgage loan. Usually applies to construction loans when partial advances are made as improvements to the property progress.

Due on Sale Clause

Provision in a mortgage or deed of trust which requires loan to be paid in full if  property is sold or transferred.