A lawful document showing proof of a person's right to ownership of a property.

Title insurance

Insurance that protects the lender's interests and the buyer's interests against loss resulting from dispute over title or ownership of a property.

Title search

Insurance that protects the lender's interests and the buyer's interests against loss resulting from dispute over title or ownership of a property

Truth-in-lending act

Disclosure in writing the terms and conditions of mortgage charges and annual percentage rate (APR) as required by the federal law.

Two-step mortgage

A mortgage (ARM) with an adjustable interest rate where the borrower pays a certain interest rate (usually below market rate) for the first 7 years which is then later adjusted to the market rate for the remaining period.

Tangible personal property

Assets outside of real estate that you can put your hands on. Examples may include business equipment, and vehicles.

Tax bracket

Different levels of income are taxed differently; your income determines what bracket you are in.

Tax credits

These are like coupons for the supermarket. You can use them to reduce the amount of tax you owe.

Tax deductions

Amounts of money that the IRS allows you to subtract from your income before computing your income tax. These are similar to tax credits.

Tax deferral

Postponing your taxes to a later date or even year. This will only delay your liability it will not make it disappear.

Tax deferred

Earnings and income that are not taxable now but will be at a later date. This is most common in retirement plans distributions.

Tax exempt

The part of your income that is not taxable or subject to tax.

Tax impound

Money collected by the lender for the annual tax payment.

Tax liability

The amount of money you owe for taxes.

Tax lien

When taxes are not paid, a tax lien is put against the property before it can be sold in order to secure that the taxes will be paid.

Tax sale

When the government sells a property in order to recover unpaid taxes. The property is sold to the highest bidder at a public auction after the owner and mortgage company have been given notice.

Tax schedules

Forms published by the IRS for persons with a taxable income of more than $100,000, used to calculate their income tax.

Tax shelter

An investment that makes it feasible to hide money from taxes. The IRS has out restrictions on tax shelters when it seems the sole purpose of the investment is to evade paying taxes.

Tax stamps

A levy mandated by the government on the transfer of ownership of real estate.

Tax tables

Tables published by the IRS for taxpayers with an income of 100,000 or less used to calculate their income tax.

Taxable income

Your gross income minus all of your adjustments, deductions, and exemptions.

Taxpayer Identification Number

Your social security number as an individual or your employee identification number (EIN) for your business.

Tear down condition

A house that is purchased so that is can be leveled to make a space for a brand new home.

Teaser rate

Usually seen on the mass mailings for credit card offers with a fantastic introductory rate used to lure consumers to switch credit cards. This rate is temporary and below market.

Tenancy by Entirety

An agreement in some states where the husband and wife are considered one person and upon death, the other automatically assumes ownership.

Tenancy in Partnership

When a property is in the name of a partnership as opposed to individual names.


The scheduled length of time for paying off a loan.

The Fed

Have you heard of Alan Greenspan? He is a Fed. He is the chairman of this seven member Board of Governors which is in charge of regulating and monitoring or economy and monetary policy so that we can find a stasis. The Fed is informal for the Federal Reserve System.

Third party originator

The person or company that gathers all the pieces of a mortgage application and transfers or sells it to the lender.

Time share

When multiple people own a piece of property in which each owner has access to the property at intervals throughout the year.

Title 1

A loan which is taken out to help a home owner make basic repairs and improvements to their home.

Title company

The company which researches the property's title for liens. judgments, and obstacles which will impeded the sale, repairs and the title, supervises the closing, and ensures all money transactions are complete and accurate.

Title defect

When others make a legal claim to property and make demands on the owner.

Total expense ratio

A ratio comparing the total amount of income against the total number of debt payments.


Typically, a series of homes which share a common wall but stand on individual lots. The owner holds the title to the land and the home.

Trade equity

When a piece of property is used in a swap for a down payment on a property. For example, trading a car for a down payment on a house.

Trade-in value

The amount of cash a car dealer will give you for your vehicle as a down payment in the purchase of a new car.

Trade lines

Each different credit account listed on your credit report. Trade lines can affect your credit score and help determine what you are eligible for.

Trading down

Making a move from a high end home to a less expensive home.

Trading up

Making a move from a house into a more expensive home.

Traditional IRA

The original self motivated retirement plan. A person may contribute money into their IRA annually depending on how much they've earned. These contributions may be tax deductible depending on your income and if you are covered by a retirement plan at your place of employment.

Transaction broker or agency

The company that works for both the buyer and seller but makes it clear that they are not in a fiduciary relationship with either side. The broker will be hired to help them reach an agreement. The Switzerland of real estate.

Transfer tax

A tax issued on the transfer of title in a real estate transaction.


One of the three largest credit reporting agencies along with Experian and Equifax.

Treasury note or bill

A US government debt with a maturity from one to ten years. Expressed as a note.

Treasury index

A grouping of indexes that are used to determine the interest rate changes on adjustable rate mortgages.


Similar to a will. A relationship where a person transfers valuables or assets to a trustee who manages this property for the benefit of the beneficiary.

Trust account

An account which manages the earnest money, money set aside for repairs, and other prepaid closing monies. These accounts are managed by the broker or the escrow agent.


A person who manages the assets.

Tuition reimbursement plan

A benefit offered by many companies as an incentive for their employees to continue their education by repaying for their tuition.

T (tiered)

T (tiered) is a notation in some interest rate tables that indicates a varied pricing structure. Usually the rate noted is the lowest rate available.

Tactical asset allocation - TAA

Tactical asset allocation, or TAA, is an investing strategy that involves keeping certain percentages of total capital invested in specific asset classes. Because each investment will perform differently over time, the investor must periodically review the allocation of invested capital, rebalancing the positions to the desired percentages of the total portfolio. In some cases, the investor may wait to rebalance the portfolio to achieve certain short-term growth objectives.

Tax and penalty-free withdrawals

Tax and penalty-free withdrawals are qualified transactions that remove money from an IRA without incurring taxes or fines. Prior to retirement, individuals are allowed to withdraw money from an IRA under certain circumstances, such as to pay for the costs of higher education.

Tax avoidance

Tax avoidance is the practice of using legal methods to minimize income taxes. Taxpayers might pursue various levels of tax avoidance, such as contributing pretax earnings to retirement accounts, purchasing tax-free municipal bonds, or making qualified charitable contributions.

Tax certificate ID

Tax certificate ID is a series of identifying digits that's issued to a business by the state for the purposes of collecting sales tax.

Tax fairness

Tax fairness is the concept that all taxpayers should be assessed an equivalent and fair level of income taxes. Those who argue for tax fairness take issue with tax loopholes that unfairly benefit a minority segment of taxpayers.

Tax home

Tax home is a taxpayer's primary place of residence. This concept is relevant in the calculation of tax-deductible travel and transportation expenses.

Tax preference items

Tax preference items are specific income and expense figures that are used in the calculation of Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) in U.S. tax law. Some of the tax preference items are: addition of personal exemptions, addition of standard deduction, subtraction of any state and local tax refund included in gross income, and changes to passive activity loss deductions.

Tax return

Tax return is a generic term for the set of forms that are submitted to a taxing authority (such as the IRS) which document an individual's or entity's annual tax liability.

Taxable estate

Taxable estate is the value of a decedent's estate that's used to calculate death taxes, also known as estate taxes. Generally, the taxable estate equals the total value of the assets, less liabilities and any tax-deductible assets.


Taxes are fees assessed by a governing body. Taxes are typically assessed on transactions (sales tax), property (property and vehicle taxes), and income (income tax).

Tax-exempt security

Tax-exempt security is a mutual fund or bond that produces income which isn't subject to federal income taxes. Tax-free municipal bonds are an example. These are fixed-income securities issued by state, county, city, or local governments. Mutual funds that invest strictly in tax-exempt securities would also be tax-exempt.

Tax-free money market mutual fund

Tax-free money market mutual fund is a diversified investment fund that invests only in short-term, tax-exempt securities. These funds are usually purchased through brokers and provide income that's free from federal tax liability.

Tax-sheltered annuity

Tax-sheltered annuity is a type of retirement planning instrument available to employees of tax-exempt organizations. Contributions are tax-deductible and earnings within the annuity aren't taxed until withdrawn.

Tear sheets

Tear sheets are the summaries of public companies that are published by Standard & Poor's (S&P). An S&P summary includes an overview of the company's operations and key performance metrics. In advertising, tear sheets are pages removed from a publication and sent to an advertiser as proof that the advertisement was run.

TED spread

TED spread is a metric that's tracked as an indicator of market credit risk. It's calculated as the difference in pricing between a three-month U.S. Treasury bill, and three-month LIBOR. A widening of the TED spread indicates a greater risk of default among borrowers.

Temporary lender

A temporary lender is a financial institution that makes mortgage loans and then sells them on the secondary market immediately after close. Temporary lenders don't keep a portfolio of loans; they earn money through fees charged to the borrower, and by selling the loans at a premium.

Tenancy by the entirety

Tenancy by the entirety is a property ownership arrangement used in some states by married couples. If the couple owns a home as tenants by the entirety, neither one of them can dispose of their ownership interest, and when one co-owner passes, ownership automatically transfers to the surviving co-owner.

Tenancy in common

Tenancy in common is a co-ownership arrangement that gives each owner the right to have his ownership interest transferred, upon his death, to a beneficiary. While living, both owners have an equal right to use the property.

Tenants by entirety - TBE

Tenancy by the entirety is a property ownership arrangement used in some states by married couples. If the couple owns a home as tenants by the entirety, neither one of them can dispose of their ownership interest, and when one co-owner passes, ownership automatically transfers to the surviving co-owner.


Tenement is a synonym for apartment, but the term often is usually associated with low-income housing in an urban area.

Ten-year Treasury Constant Maturity

Ten-year Constant Maturity Treasury is an index that's periodically published by the U.S. Treasury. The index value is calculated by adjusting the yields of recently auctioned U.S. Treasury bills and notes of varying maturities to the equivalent of a ten-year yield.

Term certain annuity

Term certain annuity is a financial planning product that pays the holder (called the annuitant) a fixed periodic payment for a set time frame. Since there is no opportunity to extend the payments past the specified time frame, purchasers of term certain annuities should consult with a financial planner to determine if this is the most appropriate product available.

Term deposit

Term deposit is a savings product that can't be withdrawn until a specified amount of time has passed. The most common term deposit is a CD, which pays a higher yield than a liquid savings deposit.

Term loan

A term loan is a commercial debt made by a bank or finance company that's repaid with periodic principal repayments. Term loan debt can't be re-borrowed once it's paid off.

Termination statement

A termination statement documents a borrower's fulfillment of an asset-based debt facility. Once the loan has been paid off, the lender no longer has ownership rights to the assets that were used as collateral for the loan.

Testamentary trust

Testamentary trust is a property ownership arrangement that's established according to instructions within a will, and after the grantor has died. Generally, the trust will hold the decedent's property. An appointed executor must manage the property and make distributions to beneficiaries in accordance with the grantor's wishes.


A tester is a person or thing that evaluates something's effectiveness or usefulness.

Third-party administrator

Third-party administrator, or TPA, is a company that's contracted to be a liaison between an insurance company and members of a group plan issued by that insurance company.

Third-party payer

Third-party payer is an entity that's responsible for a person's medical expenses, e.g., an insurance company.

Three-year rule

Three-year rule refers to a tax law that discourages individuals from gifting assets to others when death is imminent, solely for the purposes of avoiding estate tax. Section 2035 of the tax code states that if certain assets are transferred or gifted to someone else within three years of the decedent's death, those assets must be included in the estate, and taxed accordingly.


Thrift refers to a financial institution that holds deposits, primarily for individuals.

Thrift savings plan - TSP

Thrift savings plan, or TSP, is a defined-contribution retirement savings plan available to federal employees. The TSP functions like a 401(k) plan in that the employee makes contributions through automatic salary reductions, and the employing agency may have some contributing matching program. Contributions can be invested in one of several investment funds.

Timber Investment Management Organization - TIMO

Timber Investment Management Organization, or TIMO, is an entity that manages timberland investments on behalf of institutional investors. Some institutional investors diversify their portfolios by holding timberland investments, but they're not equipped to find and manage appropriate properties for maximum returns. TIMOs fill this need.

Timberland investment

Timberland investment is a tree farm, or managed natural forest, that's held by an institutional investor as part of an investment portfolio. Timberland investments are attractive to institutional investors because these properties tend to respond differently to economic conditions than stocks or bonds, which helps even out the return of the overall portfolio. Timberland investments are also relatively low risk, but produce strong returns.

Time deposit

Time deposit is a savings product that can't be withdrawn until a specified period of time has passed. In return for reduced liquidity, the depositor earns a higher yield relative to regular savings deposits. CDs are time deposits.

Time note

A time note is a contract related to a debt obligation that specifies the dates on which repayments are to be made.


TIPS, or Treasury inflation-protected securities, are U.S. Treasury-issued bonds that automatically adjust the principal for inflation, as measured by the consumer price index. Since interest is paid on the principal amount, the yield benefits from these periodic inflation adjustments. TIPS pay interest every six months, and the principal is repaid at maturity.

Total debt service ratio - TDS

Total debt service ratio, or TDS, is the percentage of an individual's income that must be used to make debt payments and mortgage payments, including insurance and taxes. This ratio is commonly evaluated when an individual applies for a mortgage loan. A lower TDS is better, as this means the borrower has more capacity to withstand unexpected circumstances.

Total housing expense

Total housing expense is the total of an individual's mortgage payments, inclusive of property taxes and homeowners insurance, plus any other required monthly debt repayments.


TPA, or third-party administrator, is a company that's contracted to be a liaison between an insurance company and members of a group plan issued by that insurance company.

Trade line

Trade line refers to an account shown on a credit report.

Trading account

Trading account is an account held by an investor with an investment dealer that's used to settle securities purchases and sales. Trading accounts can hold cash, foreign investments, and various other types of securities.

Traditional whole life policy

Traditional whole life policy is a life insurance agreement that doesn't expire. The policy ends when the insured dies and the agreed-upon payment is made to the insured's beneficiaries. Whole life policies build up cash value over time, which can be borrowed against or withdrawn by the insured. If the insured cancels the policy before death, he may receive a cash surrender value.

Trans fat

Trans fat is an unsaturated vegetable oil that has been chemically altered to remain solid or semi-solid at room temperature. Trans fats are used to lengthen a food's shelf life.

Transaction broker or transaction agency

Transaction broker, or transaction agency, is a real estate agent or firm that represents both buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. Neither buyer nor seller is represented by an agent that will pursue their best interests. Conflicts are sometimes resolved by bringing in an independent real estate professional.

Transaction date

Transaction date is the actual date that a sale was made, or an account action was taken. The transaction date may differ from the settlement date, which is the date on which the details of the transaction are recorded and finalized.


Transfer is the switch of ownership rights to an asset from one party to another. A transfer can also be the movement of money from one account to another. Specific to IRAs, a transfer is the movement of assets from one retirement plan to another, where such movement qualifies as a tax-free, non-reportable incident.

Transfer of risk

Transfer of risk is a basic premise of insurance. The arrangement between an insured and insurance provider is always transfer of risk, because the insurance provider accepts financial responsibility for losses associated with certain events, should those events occur. The insurance company accepts a fee or premium for accepting the risk transfer.

Transfer on death - TOD

Transfer on death, or TOD, is a designation that can be placed on securities positions or accounts that keeps these assets out of probate when the owner dies. If the owner designated a TOD beneficiary, the securities will be immediately transferred to that beneficiary upon death. There's no change in the owner's rights to the assets while the owner is alive.

Treasury bill or Treasury note

Treasury bill, or Treasury note, is short-term debt security that's issued and backed by the U.S. government. Treasury bills are sold at a discount, so that the value of the bond increases as the maturity date approaches. Investors realize yield by purchasing the bond at a discount, and then selling it for a higher price at a later date.

Triple net lease

Triple net lease is a lease that assigns responsibility for taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs to the lessee rather than the property owner. Triple net leases are sometimes called net-net-net leases, or hell or high water leases.

Trojan horse

A Trojan horse is a malicious software program that's disguised as being legitimate, so that users inadvertently open the program and run it. Trojans are used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to other computers and files.

Trust deed

Trust deed is a legally binding document that establishes ownership rights of a property. It's sometimes used to document the financing of real estate purchases, where ownership is assigned to a trustee until the loan is paid off. Ownership rights are transferred to the owner only after the debt obligation is fulfilled. In these arrangements, the trustee remains silent unless the borrower defaults.

Truth in Lending

Truth in Lending, also known as TILA, is federal legislation that addresses predatory lending practices. Under TILA, lenders must provide loan applicants with basic loan information, such as annual percentage rate (APR), minimum payment, annual fees, credit insurance fees, etc. This information, which is provided before loan funding, assists the applicant in budgeting and in comparing competitive loan offers.

Two-cycle billing

Two-cycle billing is a means of calculating finance charges on a credit card account. The finance charges are assessed by multiplying the rate by the average daily balance on the account for the past two months. This method tends to result in higher finance charges.

Two-year Treasury constant maturity

Two-year Treasury constant maturity is an index that's periodically published by the U.S. Treasury. The index value is calculated by adjusting the yields of recently auctioned U.S. Treasury bills and notes of varying maturities to the equivalent of a two-year yield.