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A deposit made by a potential home buyer into an escrow account as a part of a real estate contract.  It shows that they are serious about purchasing the property, hence the name.  The contract establishes the rules by which the earnest money deposit is applied at closing or released.

The right to use the land of another.  Utility easements are the most common type of easement, allowing power lines to cross property lines, for example, and allowing for maintenance of power lines within the easement.

A fixture or structure such as a fence which invades a portion of a property belonging to someone else.

Anything that burdens (limits) the fee title to property, such as a lien, easement, or restriction of any kind

The value of real estate over and above the liens against it.  It is obtained by subtracting the total liens from the value of the property.


A third-party account for holding money in trust for others. For example, the earnest money deposit required by the contract is held in an escrow account for the buyer at the title company or attorney’s office until closing or until the contract terminates.

That portion of a mortgagor’s monthly payment held in trust by the lender to pay for property taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance and other items as they become due. If your mortgage requires an escrow account, you will pay one-twelfth of the annual amount of these bills each month as a part of your regular mortgage payment.  When the bills are due, the lender pays them for you from the escrow account.  At closing, it may be necessary to pay enough into the account to cover these amounts for several months so that funds will be available to pay the bills as they come due.

A fee charged by the title company to service the transaction, to escrow monies, and to cover documents. The amount is usually charged equally to buyer and seller and is reflected on the Closing Statement.

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