Definitions

Abstract of Title - A document that provides a summary of all transactions that conveyed any interest in the title/ownership to the property, including deeds, liens, estate conveyances, and other rights to the property.

Access - The right to enter a parcel of property from another parcel owned by another party.

Access Control - Limitations to access typically from a road or other government owned parcel such as from a roadway to an adjacent private property.

Acquisition - A process of engaging in an offer and sale negotiation to convey an interest or total rights to a property that is achieved through mutual agreement or through litigation using the governments right of eminent domain, also known as condemnation.

Appraisal - An independent and objective analysis of the value of property conducted by someone with unique experience and skill in conducting such analysis.

Appraisal Methods/Appraisal Report - For real estate valuation appraisals, experts traditionally use three approaches to value and reconcile the findings most appropriate for the parcel/property being appraised. The approaches are Market Data, Cost, and Income. Usually, one method is the most relevant for a particular appraisal assignment.

Assessed Value - This valuation of property is set by a local government agency such as a County/Parish department and is established as an incremental assessment or tax to provide revenue for the costs of the government units eligible for the assessment revenue.

Certificate of Title - When a search or review of the title/ownership is conducted for a property, a document may be produced that affirms the parties in ownership and summarizes all other liens or encumbrances. This document is known as a Certificate of Title.

Chain of Title/Clear Title/Clouded Title - When the ownership of a property is researched (searched), the person who does so reviews the many transactions of transferred interests from one person to another. This chain of title identifies the history of how the ownership changed from the first owner to the current parties of interest. If the chain shows no missing links and no liens or other conditions to the title, the current owner is considered to have clear title. If there are questions of any kind as to the validity of the ownership, the title is considered clouded.

Computerized Project Records - (See Right of Way Database Management)

Condemnation - This is a legal proceeding in accordance with the ancient principle known as eminent domain wherein the government (or sovereign power) elects to acquire property for a defined public good when negotiation with the owner of the property fails. The authority for this action can be vested in most public agencies at any level (federal, state, local) and can be transferred to other entities by such agencies if deemed in the public interest.

Damages to Value - The acquisition of part of a property can leave the remainder with a valuation that is less than its proportional value prior to the acquisition of part of the property. The damages are usually identified by an appraisal of the entire property, the value of the parcel to be acquired, and then an appraisal of the remainder parcel. If the value of the remainder is less than the difference in value between the whole property and the parcel to be acquired, the remainder has incurred damages to value.

Dedication/Donation of Property - Property can be transferred from a private owner to a public entity at no cost by dedication or donation. In each case and in accordance with appropriate laws or regulations, the public entity must accept the transfer of title for the parcel. Often, a dedication occurs as part of some development by the private owner or project of the public entity. Donations can occur when a property owner wishes to relinquish rights to property that an agency will accept for some public interest.

Deed - Is a document that clearly identifies a transfer of real property interest(s) from one person to another. To be valid, the standard features of contract law must take place and the property must be identified with a proper and accurate legal description.

Easement - This is a transfer of a right to use certain property for a specific purpose. It does not provide the recipient of the easement any right to possess the property, but only use it for the identified purpose(s). The owner of the property continues to enjoy all remaining rights to possess and use the property subject to the right(s) of the easement holder.

Electric Transmission Right of Way - The location or corridor in which electric transmission lines are built to convey electric power is known as the electric transmission right of way. Typically acquired as an easement, the right of way is identified in specific locations and dimensions with specific rights and obligations defined for the owner and the right of way interest holder.

Eminent Domain - See also condemnation. Eminent domain is the legal principle and right of a government to acquire private property for a particular social need and upon payment to the property owner of just compensation.

Encroachment - A real estate improvement or fixture that extends onto a property from adjacent property owned by another party without the right to such intrusion.

Escrow - An arrangement in which a disinterested third party holds money or other funds on behalf of other parties who intend for such funds to be part of a collective settlement of a transaction. This usually occurs when property is being transferred with deposits made by the parties and subsequent funding pending for completing the transaction or closing.

Feasibility Studies - Analysis and evaluation of a proposed project to determine if it is technically, economically, environmentally, and politically feasible.

Fiber Optic Line - Transmitting information via signals of light through a slender strand of glass or special plastic material at data carrying capacity (bandwidth) far greater than possible with any other physical medium. Fiber optic lines use less energy, is immune to electromagnetic interference, and is almost entirely secure from tampering or wire-tapping.

Grade/Slope - The relative surface level of land in a particular location and in some cases the angle at which the ground or surface is aligned from the horizontal plane. Sometimes the grade is considered a place such as at grade while the slope is the angle of a surface from one point to another.

Infrastructure - This is a generic term for public improvements such as roads, bridges, water treatment plants and lines, airports, electric transmission lines, pipelines, schools, and other facilities needed for society.

Ingress/Egress - Similar to access, the terms refer to the right to enter (ingress) or depart from (egress) certain property.

Just Compensation - The required payment under law for property acquired or damaged by an authority with the power of eminent domain.

Land and Right of Way Acquisition - The process(es) of acquiring property interests to any degree for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, airports, water facilities, electric transmission facilities, pipelines, and other improvements intended to serve the larger public interests.

Lease Contract - Document that identifies the lessor, lessee, and the leased asset or property and states all terms and conditions for the use, rights, and obligations relating to that property.

Legal Description - A method that is acceptable in a court of law of geographically identifying a parcel of land.

Lien - A financial claim made on a particular property that may or may not appear in the public record and may need to be cleared during any sale of the property or interests in it or the lien will remain on the property affecting the new owners interests.

Negotiation - A communications process in which two or more parties that may be or are in disagreement over one or more issues engage to resolve the disagreement(s) to reach mutually acceptable terms. (see Universal s You Tube channel for negotiation tips)

Parcel - A defined real estate unit in whole or part of property owned by a person, usually illustrated with a form of map or Plat.

Partial Acquisition - The acquisition of a parcel that is a portion of a larger property.

Permitting - (See Right of Way Permitting)

Plat - A form of map that defines in measurements and directions a particular parcel.

Property Management - The tasks that relate to overseeing the use, care, or disposal of real property. The property may be vacant land, public infrastructure, housing, commercial or industrial facilities. The duties may range from collecting rents to complete management of all maintenance and may also include being leasing agent or sales agent.

Real Estate - Land and anything permanently affixed to the land, such as buildings, fences and those things attached to the buildings, such as light fixtures, plumbing and heating fixtures, or other such items that would be personal property if not attached.

Relocation Assistance - The financial and advisory assistance given to persons and businesses displaced by a public agency project to assist the displacee with their move to minimize in accordance with laws and regulations their inconvenience and costs and not subject them to a replacement situation that is inferior to where they were previously.

Remainder Parcel - The portion of a property that is left after a partial acquisition occurs for a project.

Renewable Energy - Derived from resources that are naturally regenerative or practically inexhaustible, such as biomass, heat (geothermal, solar, thermal gradient), moving water (hydro, tidal, and wave power), and wind energy.

Right of Entry - A temporary and specific right to enter upon certain property to conduct certain tasks such as environmental studies, surveys, or other preparatory work needed to properly design and develop a project.

Right of Way - The location or corridor in which improvements are built for the benefit of the larger public interest. Typically acquired as an easement, right of way is identified in specific locations and dimensions with specific rights and obligations defined for the owner and the right of way interest holder.

Right of Way Appraisal - A real estate appraisal using professional practices as referred to in Appraisal that is unique to the acquisition of rights of way for public infrastructure.

Right of Way Condemnation Support - The administrative and advisory assistance given to a lawyer or legal team that will pursue litigation on behalf of a condemning authority to acquire land or rights of way needed for a project.

Right of Way Cost Estimates - An analysis of the potential costs of land and right of way needed for a project is done to assist in the consideration of or design of a project to minimize impacts on society, overall costs, and schedule management.

Right of Way Database Management Systems - Digital records of all right of way related topics such as parcel and ownership information, GIS data, project information, and acquisition status typically in spreadsheet formats but also versatile enough to develop a broad variety of reports and be able to migrate the data into other systems.

Right of Way File Review - An administrative and professional process in which existing records of land and rights of way acquired for projects is reviewed to identify rights, missing data, errors in records, and acquired interests relative to future needs.

Right of Way Permitting - A form of acquisition typically done very early in a project by which all regulatory or governmental interests that are affected by a project are recognized, documented, and appropriate approvals obtained relative to the projects right of way needs.

Right of Way Pipeline Acquisition - All land and right of way acquisition needs for a pipeline project, including any cost estimating, permitting, database development, open house support, acquisition negotiations, condemnation support, construction damage settlements, and related services.

Right of Way Powerline Acquisition - All land and right of way acquisition needs for an electric transmission line project, including any cost estimating, permitting, database development, open house support, acquisition negotiations, condemnation support, construction damage settlements, and related services.

Right of Way Project Management - The organizing, staffing, mobilizing, planning, directing, hiring of subconsultants, coordinating with clients and other key project staff, for the effective accomplishment of project goals in a best-value relative to project schedules and budgets.

Right of Way Quality Assurance - The policies and procedures established to deliver the best-value quality in right of way activity performance, records, and results for a project. This can be accomplished only by implementation of proven methods with highly experienced personnel in a corporate culture that emphasizes quality standards.

Right of Way Records Management - See also Right of Way Database Management Systems ; relates to the digital and document files of all right of way activities for a certain project and the policies and procedures by which those records are developed, managed, and delivered.

Right of Way Relocation Assistance - See also Relocation Assistance ; Relocation Assistance can be provided on non-right of way projects such as urban development and airport projects. In these, the emphasis is less on linear rights of way corridors and more on land and improvements in the project area. For right of way related relocation assistance, the focus is on the typically linear corridor effects on property and providing the services needed to address the displacement of persons, businesses, and personal property that must occur as a result of the project.

Right of Way Route Selection - For right of way projects that occur as lengthy corridors affecting many parcels, there may be a variety of alignments of the project that have differing cost, schedule, and public impacts from one another. By evaluating those impacts, and particularly the right of way issues of cost, relocation assistance, and personal effects of the project, the project leadership can select an alignment or route that minimizes those impacts while serving the projects cost and schedule needs.

Right of Way Title - As with all real estate title features, right of way title is concerned with defining the ownership interests of parcels affected by a project so the proper parties in ownership can be contacted, the affected interests appraised, and mutual agreement achieved for the acquisition of the needed interests.

Right of Way Turnkey Services - For maximum ease of service delivery and minimization of management complication, combining all right of way related services served by a single services provider is often the most efficient and effective contracting method. This turnkey approach enables a project developer to have a single point of contact for all right of way functions for services accountability.

Settlement of Construction Damages - At the time of construction of an infrastructure project, there can arise unexpected situations that cause inconvenience, cost, or physical damage to the interests of property owners affected by the project. Settlement of those construction damages involves a right of way agent who meets with the property owners, tenants, and other affected parties, identifies the claims of the parties, and negotiates a settlement of such claims so that no lingering disputes remain between affected parties and the owner of the project after construction.

Solar Energy Farm - A designed assemblage of solar collector panels that develop electric power derived from gathering energy from the sun.

Temporary Construction Easement - (TCE) - An easement granted for a party to do work on a specific piece of property owned by others for a finite period during the construction phase of a project.

Title Opinion - An opinion on the status of ownership of certain property following a title search and review of the record of title to such property.

Title Report/Search - The report is the summary of the status of current ownership of and interests in a particular property following a review or search of the public record regarding that property. This usually is prepared in order to issue a title commitment of insurance by a properly licensed company.

Wind Farm - A designed assemblage of operating wind turbines that develop electric power and deliver it to facilities for transport/transmission to an electrical network or grid.