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California Land Title Association (CLTA)

A statewide association of tide insurers and underwritten title companies. The association adopts standard title policy forms.


In a metes and bounds description, the angle and distance of a given line or arc. Each call is usually preceded by the word then or thence. Example: N 220 E 100' (lst. call), thence N 800 E 1W (2nd. call).

Cancellation Clause

A clause in a lease or other contract, setting forth the conditions under which each party may cancel or terminate the agreement. The conditions may be as simple as giving notice or complex and require payment by the party desiring to cancel.


The maximum, which an adjustable rate mortgage may increase, regardless of index changes.

Capital Assets

Assets of a permanent nature used to produce income, such as machinery, buildings, equipment, land, etc. Must be distinguished from inventory. A machine, which makes pencils, for example, would be a capital asset to a pencil manufacturer, but inventory to the company whose business is to sell such machines.

Capital Gains

Gains realized from the sale of capital assets. Generally, the difference between cost and selling price, less certain deductible expenses. Used mainly for income tax purposes.

Carrying Charges

The costs involved in keeping a property which is intended to produce income (either by sale or rent) but has not yet done so.

Caveat Emptor

"Let the buyer beware." Legal maxim stating that the buyer takes the risk regarding quality or condition of the item purchased, unless protected by warranty or there is misrepresentation. Modernly, consumer protection laws have placed more responsibility for disclosure on the seller and broker.

CC and Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions)

Limitations placed on the use and enjoyment of real property. These are found most often in condominiums and planned unit developments.

Certificate Of Title

In areas where attorneys examine abstractor chains of title, a written opinion, executed by the examining attorney, stating that title is vested as stated in the abstract.

Chain of Title

A chronological list of recorded instruments tracing title to land, from the original owner to the present owner.

Classified Property Tax

Property tax, which varies in rate depending on the use (zoning classification) of the property.

Clear Title

Title to property, which is free from liens, defects or other encumbrances.


(1) In real estate sales, the final procedure in which documents are executed and/or recorded, and the sale (or loan) is completed. (2) A selling term meaning the point at which the client or customer is asked to agree to the sale or purchase and sign the contract. (3) The final call in a metes and bounds legal description which "closes" the boundaries of the property.

Closing Costs

Expenses, beyond the selling price, such as loan fees, title fees, etc. Paid when documents are executed and/or recorded and the sale is complete.

Closing Statement

A summary, in the form of a balance sheet, showing the amounts of debits and credits to which each party to a real estate transaction is entitled upon closing.

Cloud On Title

An invalid encumbrance on real property, which, if valid, would affect the rights of the owner. For example: A sells lot 1, tract 1. to B. The deed is mistakenly drawn to read lot 2 by the recording of the erroneous deed. The cloud may be removed by quitclaim deed, or, it necessary, by court action.


A sharing of the risk of an insurance policy by more than one insurer. Usually one insurer is liable up to a certain amount, the other liable over that amount.

Commercial Property

Property which is zoned "commercial" (for business use). Property such as stores, restaurants, etc., falling between residential and industrial.


To mix funds held in trust with other funds. For example: A broker or builder mixes deposits (should be in a trust account) with his funds by putting the deposits in his general account. Although commingling is in itself a violation for which a broker may lose his license, it does not mean that, by commingling, the broker or builder intended to misappropriate the funds.


Compensation due a real estate broker for acting on behalf of the principal.

Community Property

Property acquired during a marriage by either a husband or wife, or both, which is not separate property.

Comparables (Comps)

An abbreviation for comparable properties used for comparative purposes in the appraisal process.

Conditional Sales Contract

A sale in which the title to property or goods remains with the seller until the purchaser has fulfilled the terms of the contract, usually payment in full.


A structure of two or more units, the interior space of which are individually owned: the balance of the property (both land and building) is owned in common by the owners of the individual units. The size of each unit is measured from the interior surfaces (exclusive of paint or other finishes) of the exterior walls, floors, and ceiling. The balance of the property is called the common area.


A required element in all contracts by which some-thing of value, including a promise is exchanged for the act or promise of another.


Action conditioned upon a certain event. Acceptance of the terms of a contract based on something else happening or certain conditions being met.


The transfer of title or an interest in real property by means of a written instrument such as a deed of trust.

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