Title definition real estate is defined as someone who has legal ownership and a right to use their piece of property. A legal title can be applied to almost anything, but most people use it when referring to automobiles and real estate. This is because they're big purchases that can often have ownership arrangements, which are complicated. If there is a defective title, it can cause a problem when creating ownership. This can impact the exercise of rights or complicate the resale of a property.

Problems With Title in Real Estate

Sometimes if a certain piece of land has been in one's family for generations, the owner might be forgotten. Someone might have also taken the land via adverse possession, so there wasn't a land grant that was clear from the start. In these cases, someone may come back and take a claim on the ownership interest. Liens are like small mortgages that are put on the property and force a debt to be paid. Land cannot be sold if there are liens on the property.

Buyer's Protections Against Title Defects

Several things can be done to decrease potential problems of a defective title when buying a home. They include the following:

  • Performing a title search where most defects will be found, so you know what you're getting into.
  • Writing a contingency into the home purchase agreement saying that if no clear title is proven by the current owner, you may back out of the agreement at any time. This way you won't be forced to buy a home that has a defective title.
  • If a problem is discovered with the title after the house is purchased, you can buy title insurance to cover yourself in case someone tries to claim your land.

How Should You Title Your Home?

Sole ownership is when the title is in your name only, even if the property is owned by other people as well. Joint tenancy means that multiple people own the property and if one of them dies, the other will get the property without it going through probate. The survivor will file an affidavit saying that the other titleholder is deceased, will put the death certificate with this statement, and will, in turn, get the property.

Another method for holding a title in several names is tenancy, where if two people own a property together but one of them dies, the interest will either get distributed according to their will or according to the law of the state if they don't have a will.

The Difference Between a Title and a Property Deed

The way of stating you own the right to something is called a title, and when used for the purpose of real estate, refers to the property being owned. This means you have the legal rights to use the property how you wish, and since you have the title can access and modify the land as you see appropriate. The title means that you can transfer a portion that you own or that interest to other people, but you can never transfer more than you legally own.

Deeds are the legal documents that transfer the title between people. According to the Statute of Frauds, this should be a written document. The deed is commonly known as the vehicle of the property interest transfer, and the transfer can be for less than the title that's owned. The deeds should be recorded in the Assessor's office or in the courthouse in order for them to be fully binding. However, not filing them doesn't change the title transfer. Having an imperfect deed doesn't mean there's an issue with the title, but that there's a problem with how the paperwork was handled.

A title refers to the duties and responsibilities an owner has when it comes to using, maintaining, and controlling a property. This is also referred to as ownership of the property. The name of the property owner will be documented on the title. This grants ownership of the property and everything that entails, such as development and conveyance rights, exclusive use, and the right of disposition.

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