Real Estate Deed Vs Title | The Greatest Explanation Guide
When you buy a home, you are entering into a legal transaction, and with that comes terms you might not have heard before. You might see references to real estate deeds and titles, but what do they mean, and how are they different?
Let’s look at what real estate deeds and titles are, their place in the real estate transaction, and how they differ.
Real Estate Deed Vs Title
What is a Real Estate Deed?
The legal document that allows ownership of a home to transfer from the seller to the buyer is a deed. Contained in the deed is a description of the property including the property lines. The seller is called the grantor, and the buyer is the grantee, both the grantor and the grantee have to sign the document to make it legal. This is a document you should receive a copy of at closing for your records.
What is a Title in Real Estate?
When you have the title of something, you have legal ownership rights to it. And so, the title in real estate refers to the legal ownership of a property. It entitles the holder to the ownership rights and responsibilities of the property.
The title of a home can be held by an individual, a couple, a corporation, and other legal entities, with ownership rights shared between parties. When a property is purchased, the title will transfer to the buyer as written in the deed.
Comparing Real Estate Deeds and Titles
The big difference between deed and title is that one of them is a physical legal document, and the other is more of an idea, a concept describing something. Deeds are legal documents that often need to be registered officially at an assessor’s office or a courthouse. Whereas, the title isn’t a physical thing and is just a way of explaining who has the rights to a property.
The deed explains that the title is being transferred to a new owner. The title then allows the new owner to transfer the property again, make changes to it, or simply live in the home.
The deed legally states the claim of ownership over the property. Whereas, the title describes who owns the home.
How Deeds are Used During Closing
During the process of closing on a home, a title search will be completed. This is normally done by the title company and involves searching the public records that could have information about the title of the home.
The records searched could include previous deeds, liens, mortgage documents, divorce settlements, and more. The title examiner will use these records to verify legal ownership of the property. They will also try to uncover any debts owed against the home, using this data to compile a title abstract.
The title abstract should show whether the title is clear and the seller has the right to transfer the home. With a clear title, the documents can be prepared for closing. The seller will then sign the deed during the closing process, transferring the title to the new owner.
Types of Real Estate Deeds in Florida
When deeds are signed in Florida, they need to be witnessed by a notary public, an impartial official appointed by the state, as well as two more witnesses. And there isn’t just one type of deed that covers all title transfers, there are many.
When ownership of a property transfers in Florida, it is most commonly done using either a General Warranty Deed or a Quitclaim Deed. Let’s look at these and the other deeds you could encounter.
General Warranty Deed
The most common deed, the General Warranty Deed, confirms that the grantor or seller is the owner of the property. It says that they have the right to transfer the home and that there aren’t any liens or other encumbrances on the property there are many types of deeds for property.
It also means that the owner is signing their name to the fact that there aren’t any defects of title, and to protect the buyer against damages should that not be the case. Additionally, it defends the buyer should other parties make claims on the property.
This deed is generally used when there isn’t money involved in the transaction. It is called a Quitclaim Deed as it involves someone quitting their claim to the property. This means giving up their interest in the property they own. Often this is used to transfer a property between family members or into a trust.
Statutory Warranty Deed
Offering the same assertions as the General Warranty Deed, the Statutory Warranty Deed is a simplified version.
Special Warranty Deed
Also providing the same assertions as the General Warranty Deed, the Special version limits the warranty offered by the seller. Instead of covering all the previous owners of the property, the Special Warranty Deed will only protect against the time the seller has owned the home. There will be language in the deed that restricts the owner’s liability for the covenants they have agreed to.
Fee Simple Deed
This deed, as the name suggests, is simple, only transferring the title. This deed doesn’t offer any warranties or other guarantees about the title, ownership, or offering protection against damages.
Personal Representative’s Deed
When a property is transferred from an estate to an heir or sold to a buyer, the personal representative or executor of the decease’s estate will use this deed. The Personal Representative’s Deed is usually based on the Fee Simple Deed, without warranties to protect the new owner.
Life Estate Deed
The Life Estate Deed is a way of transferring the title to someone for their natural life. When that person or persons passes away, the property will transfer to someone else on fee simple terms.
There are a few other types of deeds that could be used, but they aren’t commonly found. When you are involved in a property transaction, it is important that the correct deed is used for the situation. For buyers, the General Warranty Deed or Statutory Warranty Deed will be the best options as they provide some guarantees from the seller.
When buying a home, it’s advisable to understand the terms used during the purchasing process. And, hopefully, the question; deed vs title real estate is no longer a mystery to you anymore.
If you are wondering how to get copy of property deed online there are many tools, one being a property deed search by address on your local government’s website. However, the easiest way is to contact the title company who handled your closing to get a copy if you never received a copy or lost it.
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About the Author
Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “Real Estate Deed Vs Title | The Greatest Explanation Guide”
Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.
Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, and more.