A deed is a legal document that transfers the ownership of a home, or a piece of property, from one person to another. The physical deed document will generally describe, in writing, the exact location of the property. It will also include the names of the former owners of the property, and the names of the new owners.
There are many different types of deeds that may be utilized to transfer the ownership property from one person to another, but all deeds must be signed by the person transferring the property to the new owner. Additionally, the signature must be notarized in order to prove that the ownership transfer is valid.
A deed of title, or title deed, is a specific legal document that transfers the title of real estate from one person to another. Full ownership to a piece of real estate is given to the new owner. Usually, such a transfer would happen through a traditional real estate sale; however, a title may be transferred in other ways. An example of this would be when someone gifts a piece of property to another person.
In most cases, the deed of title is classified as a general warranty deed. This is a specific type of deed in which the current owner guarantees that they hold a clear title to a piece of real estate. This means that they are not only guaranteeing that they received a clear title from the previous owner of the property, but that no other individuals retain any interest in the property.
A general warranty deed is utilized for most real estate deed transfers due to the fact that it provides the greatest amount of protection of any deed. It may be known as a grant deed in some states.
Deeds of title should not be confused with a deed of trust. A deed of trust simply grants a lender or mortgage lender a lien on the property if a debt is owed.
What is the Difference Between a Deed and a Title?
The actual deed itself, and having title to a piece of property, are slightly different. A deed is the actual legal instrument or written document that conveys the ownership of property from one person to another. When buying a home, you will be signing the deed to the home, which then creates your right to claim ownership of that house.
A title refers to a legal relationship between a person and the land that they own. This creates a right to that specific piece of property. An example of this would be getting a loan from a bank to purchase a piece of property. The bank will hold title to the property until the loan has been paid off, in full, then the bank will transfer the title to the property to the borrower.
How is a Transfer of Title Completed?
Regardless of how the new owner comes to obtain the title to the property, a deed of title must be referenced and recorded with the county recorder’s office. This creates a written record of the property transfer, and can prevent legal disputes later on. Deeds must be recorded for title searches, as well as certainty of title. A title search will provide an interested party with important information on the property, such as the chain of ownership of the property. A title search will also provide information on any incumbrances, such as a lien.
Recording a deed grants the property’s owner certainty of title, meaning that the recorded deed provides a degree of assurance that the property owner does indeed own the premises. Additionally, it provides assurance that the property owner’s rights are secured against legal challenges.
What if there is a Dispute Regarding the Deed of Title?
One of the most common disputes regarding deeds of title is determining who the previous owner was. Not only would such a dispute hold up the pending sale, it could also result in a lawsuit. Should such a dispute arise, it will likely be necessary to perform a search of title deed records so that all parties involved can view the chain of title.
Chain of title refers to the overall history of the passing of title from the present owner, all the way back to the original owner. Chain of title may be established through various documents, including but not limited to:
- Deeds to the property;
- Foreclosure documents;
- Documents from judgments of distribution; and,
- Death certificates from joint tenants and other relevant parties.
Viewing the chain of title is an essential step to clarifying who is actually entitled to own the property in question. As you can imagine, a dispute of title can be serious and stressful, so ensuring that the chain of title is clear can help avoid it in the future.
Do I Need an Attorney for Issues with Deeds of Title?
If you are attempting to transfer ownership of a piece of property, or are otherwise experiencing any issues with deeds of title, you should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable property attorney. The attorney can educate you on your state’s specific laws regarding the matter, as well as conduct a title search and represent you in court as needed.