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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Fee Simple

An estate in which the owner is entitled to the entire property, with unconditional power of disposition during the owner’s life, and which descends to the heirs upon the owner’s death if the owner dies without a will.


Federal  Housing  Administration,  an  agency  of  the  federal  government  which insures private loans for financing of new and existing housing and for home repairs under government approved programs.

FHLMC (Freddie Mac)

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, an affiliate of the Federal  Home  Loan  Bank,  which  creates  a secondary  market  in conventional  residential loans and in FHA and VA loans by purchasing  mortgages  from members  of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

Financing Statement

A document filed with the Register of Deeds or Secretary of State securing the title to personal property.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A loan that carries an unchangeable interest rate over its entire term – typically a period of 15-30 years.


Personal property that by state law becomes real property upon being attached to real estate.

Flood Certification

A common term for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF). This determines whether land or a building is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area for purposes of flood insurance requirements under the National Flood Insurance Program.

FNMA (Fannie Mae)

Federal National Mortgage Association, a federally sponsored private corporation which provides a secondary market for housing mortgages.


Legal  process  by which  a mortgagor  of real  property  is deprived  of interest in that property due to failure to comply with terms and conditions of the mortgage.

Forfeiture of Title

A common penalty for the violation of conditions or restrictions imposed by the seller  upon the buyer in a deed or other proper document. For example, a deed may be granted upon the condition that if liquor is sold on the land, the title to the land will be forfeited (that is, lost) by the buyer (or some later owner) and will revert to the seller.


The fraudulent signing of another’s name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage or check.