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Real Estate Glossary

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REAL ESTATE terms have legal meanings that can be puzzling to Canadian consumers

Real estate terms can often be puzzling to Canadian consumers dealing with a legal or land transaction for the first time. 

Here are some helpful definitions in this real estate glossary:

Bequeath - To leave or give (property) by a will. To pass (something) on to another; hand down. 

Closing - A real estate transaction in which property changes hands. Generally, there is an exchange of money for the title to the land. An essential part of the closing is the registration of the title in the new owner's name. 

Easement - A right or interest in the use of the land of another person which entitles the holder to some use, privilege or benefit, such as to place pole lines, pipe lines or roads thereon.

Encroachment - The presence of an improvement such as a building, wall, fence or other fixture which overlaps onto the property of an adjoining owner. 

Marketability - Generally, the problem is unmarketability: a condition in which property cannot be sold because of pending legal issues.

Notary - An official witness. In British Columbia, a notary is authorized to conduct a real estate closing. 

Real Property Report - In some provinces, a Real Property Report takes the place of a survey in defining the dimensions and location of a property. 

Setback - The minimum distance a house or building must be from lot lines. 

Solicitor - A lawyer. 

Survey - A measurement and definition of the boundaries of a piece of property as determined by a surveyor. 

Title - An official declaration of ownership. 

Title Defect - A problem with the title which prevents free and clear ownership. There are many types of defects, including unpaid liens, rights of way, or encroachments from neighbouring properties, to identify a few. 

Title Insurance - An insurance policy issued by a company that assumes risk. In this case, the risk is that once title has been transferred to a new owner through a closing process, evidence comes to light that challenges the new owner's right to clear title. Title insurance can be residential or commercial. Residential refers to properties occupied by the owner _ usually single family homes but also including multiple dwelling units. Commercial refers to properties owned as investments and can include raw land, factories, retail stores, mixed use, apartment buildings, office buildings, warehouses or many other types of property. 

Underwrite - To assume an insurance risk, guaranteeing payment in event of loss. 


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Real Estate Term

Title Defect - A problem with the title which prevents free and clear ownership. There are many types of defects, including unpaid liens, rights of way, or encroachments from neighbouring properties, to identify a few.