Title vs. Deed — What’s the Difference?

Title vs Deed

What Is a Title?

A title, vs. a deed, is proof that someone is the rightful owner of a property or an asset. It also states that the rightful owner has the legal right to use the asset – either to keep, control, sell, or dispose of the asset.

What Is a Deed?

A deed, vs. a title, is a legal document, such as a contract, to pass on an asset or the rights to an asset from the rightful owner to another individual or group.

The Main Differences Between a Title vs. a Deed

Because they seem very similar, it can prove challenging to notice any differentiation between titles vs. deeds. Whether you buy or sell a property, you need to understand both.

The main differences between these two legal statuses are:

  • A deed specifies an asset’s rightful owner and transfers ownership from one party to another.
  • A title describes the legal position that the rightful owner has over an asset.
  • A deed is simply the documentation to ensure the legal transfer of an asset from one owner to another.
  • A title grants the current or new owner the right to use, control, sell, or dispose of the asset. It states that not only does the individual or group own the asset, but also has full rights over it and can use it as she or he pleases.
  • A deed is a written document, and all parties involved must sign it. In some jurisdictions, a notary public and witnesses determine the deed’s legitimacy.
  • Parties do not write a title, but instead, it is an abstract and agreed-upon concept.

When dealing with the transferal of a property or any other asset, it is imperative to know the difference between a title vs. a deed. Ultimately, the deed is evidence of the legal transfer of an asset whereas a title is the ultimate holder of the asset.

When to Consider Both Titles and Deeds 

Particularly during transferring a property, both titles and deeds are necessary. During the closing process of a property, a search for the title of the property takes place.

There will be extensive searches of public records relating to the property. This includes previous deeds, mortgage records, liens, wills and divorce settlements, among other records. Upon completion of a search, a title examiner comes in for the next stage.

A title examiner must verify the property’s legal owner. The examiner also checks to determine the existence of debts owed against the property. Once title examiners analyze all the data, they develop the title abstract. A title abstract determines and verifies whether the seller can legally transfer the property to another individual or group.

Once verified, all parties involved must sign the newly drafted house deed to approve it. This deed transfers the legal ownership of the property and the title to the new owner.

On the whole, this is a very involved process. It is imperative to prove that the seller is indeed the legal owner of the property and has every right to sell the property. It is also crucial for new owners to have the right to do as they please with the property. Therefore, the deed must also transfer ownership of the title.

Title Details

It must be remembered, the title is crucial to verify ownership and freedom of use for the property. A title is essentially a group of rights for the rightful owner, which include:

  • Ownership: This is the right to claim ownership of the property or asset.
  • Control: This is the right for you to use the property as you wish within the parameters of the law.
  • Exclusion: This is the right to exclude others from encroaching or having any access to your property.
  • Disposition: This is the right to sell your property or to transfer the ownership without selling, as long as it is within the parameters of the law.

A title is crucial. Without the clearing of the title, it is impossible and unlawful to sell or transfer the property or asset to another party.

Every property owner should also know title defects, which can prevent title transferal. These include:

  • Improper title transfers because of paperwork errors
  • Overdue taxes
  • Child support liens
  • Bankruptcy

These are a few of the defects. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer to see if you are free of any title defects or how to eliminate them if you have them.

Deed Details

Because a deed is a legal document that indicates the transfer of property, it contains meticulous details, guidelines and laws. There are a few different types of deeds:

  • General Warranty Deed: This is the most common type of deed regarding real estate selling. It grants several protections, including the title and dictum that you are the property’s sole owner.
  • Special Warranty Deed: This is usually only used in commercial real estate transactions and states that the title only is valid for the time you own the property.
  • Bargain and Sale Deed: This usually occurs during home foreclosure. It does not require the seller to clear the title and does not offer the buyer any protection.

Because there are several other deeds, you should consult your lawyer as to which is best for your transaction.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

If you need assistance with a title or a deed, then reach out to an experienced lawyer. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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