While a property deed and a property title might seem like the same thing, they’re actually two different legal concepts. That being said, they are closely related. Confused yet? Not to worry. In this week’s blog, we’ll talk about the difference between a property deed and title so you’re better informed when you go into the home buying process.
The title is not an actual physical document. Your title is a concept that says you own and have the right to use a piece of property. This means you’re allowed to access and modify the land in whatever way you want.
You can have a full interest in the title, which means you and you alone are the owner of the property. Or, you can have partial interest in the title, which means you share the interest in the title with one or more people. If you have a full interest in the title, you can transfer this in full or in part to another person. If you have a partial interest in the title, you can only transfer your interest, nothing more.
In essence, the title is your ownership of the property. And you’re allowed to transfer this interest to someone else. But how do you do this? With a deed.
The deed is the legal document you use to transfer the property’s title to another person. This is also sometimes known as the vehicle of the property interest transfer. Deeds are a written document, and have to be recorded in a courthouse or assessor’s office to make them fully binding.
The type of deed determines the nature of the transfer of the title, and stipulates as to certain conditions of the transfer. For example, as we wrote in a recent blog on quit claim deeds, you can use a quit claim deed to transfer ownership of property among parties with an established and trusting relationship, such as family members. This is because quit claim deeds don’t provide some of the guarantees that other deeds do (such as a guarantee that the seller owns the property), but do allow for a fast and simple transaction. Because the parties have an established relationship, the recipient of the deed trusts that the owner has legal ownership of the title, and does not need this guaranteed in the deed.
There are a number of other types of deeds. A warranty deed is commonly used in traditional real estate transactions. In this type of deed, the owner promises the buyer that he or she has title to the property, that the title is clean, and that the owner will compensate the buyer if this turns out not to be the case (this is the warranty part of the deed).
Keep an eye on our blog to learn more about home titles and property deeds. And don’t forget that title insurance could be the difference that saves you your home. To learn more about title insurance, contact Colony Title Associates today at 410-884-1160, or visit ColonyTitle.com today!