Glossary of Terms

The Office of the Clark County Recorder is not authorized to give legal advice. This glossary consists of short definitions of terms that are often encountered in recorded documents. It is offered only as a convenience to our customers and it does not constitute advice on legal rights or responsibilities. The Clark County Recorder recommends that you contact a Nevada licensed attorney for legal advice concerning your own rights and responsibilities.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT – Execution of a document before an authorized officer or a notary public. Acknowledgment is required of most documents that affect the title to real property (such as deeds, trust deeds, easements).

ADMINISTRATOR – Person appointed by probate court to settle the affairs of an individual who died without leaving a will. The term is “administratrix” if such person is a woman.

AFFIANT – Person who swears to the statement in an affidavit.

AFFIDAVIT – A sworn statement in writing, such as Affidavit Terminating Joint Tenancy, Affidavit of Proof of Annual Labor.

APPRAISED VALUE – A property’s value as determined by the sale amounts of comparable properties. County Assessor’s appraised value may differ from a private appraiser.

ASSESSOR’S PARCEL NUMBER – The Assessor's identification number for a specific property.

ASSESSED VALUE – The value placed on the property by the county assessor's office based on the property's appraised value. The assessed value generally increases annually at a rate from 1%-2%. However, this is not necessarily the property's current market value.

ASSIGNEE – One to whom a transfer of interest is made. For example, beneficial interest is assigned to the assignee on an Assignment of Trust Deed.

ASSIGNOR – One who makes an assignment of interest. For example, the assignor on an Assignment of a Trust Deed assigns beneficial interest.

ATTORNEY IN FACT – One who holds a power of attorney from another allowing him to execute documents on behalf of the person granting the power of attorney.

BANKRUPT – A person who, through court proceedings, is relieved from payment of debts after he surrenders his assets to a court-appointed trustee.

BENEFICIARY – Person who receives some benefit. For Example, the beneficiary of a trust deed is the one who lends the money and receives benefits in the form of payments.

CERTIFIED COPY – A copy of a document that has been recorded or filed with a government agency (such as a Recorder or Clerk). The copy must be stamped and sealed by a deputy certifying that it is an exact copy.

CHAIN OF TITLE – Past series of transactions and documents affecting title to a parcel of land.

CLEAR TITLE – Title that contains no obstruction or limitations from receiving marketable value.

CONFORMED COPY – A copy of a document that is presented at the time of recordation and is endorsed with the recording information as a courtesy to the customer.

CONTRACT – An agreement to sell and purchase under which actual title is withheld from the purchaser until the required payments to the seller have been made.

CONVEYANCE – An instrument by which title to property is transferred; such as a deed.

CORPORATION – An person or entity created under laws of a state as a group of successors with a head person or an association of individuals. There are many types of corporations, such as public, private, closely held, professional, nonprofit, Subchapter S.

COVENANT – An agreement written into deeds and other instruments promising performance or nonperformance of certain acts, or stipulating certain uses or non-uses of the property.

DECLARATION OF VALUE – A document declaring the value of property. The Declaration of Value must accompany any deed presented for recording. NRS 375.060

DECLARATION OF HOMESTEAD – A document recorded to protect a portion of a property owner's equity in their residence against the claims of certain creditors. Filing a Homestead Declaration will not invalidate bona fide liens or mortgages against property.

DEED – A written document by which the ownership of land is transferred from one party to another.

DEED OF TRUST – An instrument used as a mortgage. Property is transferred to a trustee by the borrower in favor of the lender, and reconveyed upon payment in full.

DEED RESTRICTIONS – Clauses in a deed limiting the future uses of the property.

EASEMENT – A limited right in a piece of land owned by another. Entitles the easement holder to a specific limited use, such as sewer lines, power lines, or crossing the property.

ENCUMBRANCE – Any lien – such as a mortgage, tax, fee, or judgment lien; an easement; a restriction on the use of the land.

ENDORSEMENT – A stamp or sticker placed on the document by the Recorder to show the county in which it was recorded, the date and time, as well as the person requesting the recordation and the fee charged.

EQUITY – The interest or value that an owner has in real estate over and above the debts against it.

ESCROW – A procedure whereby a disinterested third party handles legal documents and funds on behalf of a seller and buyer.

EXECUTOR – A person appointed by the probate court to carry out the terms of a will. The term is “executrix” if such person is a woman.

FHA – 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.

FILE – To place on file within the office of the County Recorder maps which are accepted by the recorder and are time-stamped, assigned a unique instrument number and indexed.

GRANTEE – A person receiving a grant, or buying property.

GRANTOR – A person issuing the grant, or selling property.

INSTRUMENT NUMBER – The unique number assigned to each recorded document by the County Recorder's Office.

JOINT TENANCY – Ownership of real estate between two or more parties named in one conveyance as joint tenants. Upon the death of a joint tenant, his or her interest passes to the surviving joint tenant or tenants by the right of survivorship. Proper documentation must be recorded.

JUDGMENT – A court’s final and authentic determination of the rights of the parties in an action.

JUDGMENT LIEN – Statutory lien created by recording an abstract or certified copy of a money judgment.

LEASE – A grant of the use of lands for a term of years in consideration of payment of a monthly or annual rental usually in a form of a contractual agreement.

LEGAL DESCRIPTION – A description of a specific parcel of real estate complete enough for an independent surveyor to locate and identify it. The description is by subdivision name, lot and block in a platted subdivision, or parcel map.

LESSEE – One who receives use of land under a lease; tenant.

LESSOR – One who grants use of land under a lease; landlord.

LIEN – A claim or interest in land property as security for a debt. A lien does not confer title. Some examples are mortgage liens, judgment liens, and mechanics liens.

LIS PENDENS – A notice recorded in the official records of a county to indicate that an action affecting a particular property has been filed in either a state or a federal court.

LODE MINING CLAIM – Minerals are imbedded in bedrock (tunnel or shaft) and are not loose on the ground.

MECHANIC’S LIEN – A lien allowed by statute to contractors, laborers and material men on buildings, or other structures upon which work has been performed or materials supplied.

MILLSITE MINING CLAIM – Claim on non-mineral land for processing ore from mining claim.

MINERAL SURVEY – Patented mining claim; number assigned by BLM. Map available either from BLM (for complete map) or from Assessor (can only provide in pieces).

MORTGAGE – A lien against property created in a repayment agreement that uses the property as collateral for a loan.

NOTARY/NOTARY PUBLIC – An individual commissioned by the state with the authority to acknowledge the signatures of individuals; notaries take no responsibility for the statements made by the signer or the contents of the documents signed.

PARCEL NUMBER (PIN) or (APN) – A unique 11 digit number used as the identifier of each parcel. It is sometimes referred to as the parcel identification number (PIN) or Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN).

PLACER MINING CLAIM – Minerals are loose on the ground or in a streambed.

PLAT – A map representing a piece of land subdivided into lots indicating the location and boundaries of individual properties.

QUIET TITLE – The removal of a cloud on title by proper action in a court in which a plaintiff staked a claim in his/her own property in which a defect was defaulted on the estate in which is voided to show as a cloud on the estate’s title deemed to be reviewed upon a court action.

QUIT CLAIM DEED – A conveyance by which the grantor transfers whatever interest he or she has in the real estate, without warranties or obligations.

RANGE – A row of townships running north and south. Used in legal description, as in range, township, and section.

REAL PROPERTY – Land and that which is affixed to it, as well as the interests, benefits, and rights inherent in real estate ownership.

REAL PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX (RPTT) – A tax collected by the Recorder at the time of recording when an interest in property is conveyed.

RECONVEYANCE – When a mortgage is paid in full, the lender conveys the property back to the owner.

RECORDING – The act of entering or recording documents as public records in the office of the county recorder. Documents are recorded to protect the interests of persons involved and to provide constructive notice of rights and interests in land. Documents accepted for recording are time stamped, receive a unique instrument number, are indexed, the image is captured and the original document is sent back to the returnee.

RESTRICTION – A limitation on the use of real property, generally originated by the owner or sub-divider in a deed. Also termed a deed restriction.

RIGHT OF WAY – The right that one has to pass across the lands of another. An easement.

SECTION – A portion of a township that is approximately one mile by one mile and 640 acres. Used in legal description, as in range, township, and section.

SUBDIVISION – A tract of land divided by the owner, known as the sub-divider, into blocks, building lots, and streets according to a recorded subdivision plat, which must comply with state regulations and the local subdivision ordinance.

SURVEY – The process by which boundaries are measured and land areas are determined; usually performed by a professional land surveyor.

TENANT – Any person in possession of real property with the owner’s permission.

TENANTS IN COMMON – A form of co-ownership by which each owner holds an undivided interest in real property as if he or she were sole owner. Each individual owner has the right to ask for partition. Unlike joint tenants, tenants in common have right of inheritance.

TITLE – The right to or ownership of land or the evidence of ownership of land.

TITLE INSURANCE – A policy insuring the owner against loss by reason of defects in the title to a parcel of real estate, other than encumbrances, defects, and matters specifically excluded by the policy.

TITLE SEARCH – An examination of public records, laws and court decisions to determine the current ownership of and encumbrances on a parcel of land.

TRUST DEED – A written instrument by which title to land is transferred to a trustee as security for payment of a debt or other obligation. Also called a Deed of Trust. Other states may use a mortgage, which is similar but does not actually transfer the property to a trustee.