What is the difference between a property deed and title?
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Q:

What is the difference between a property deed and title?

A:

Quick Answer

Title is a legal term that means ownership while a deed is a legal document that serves to transfer the title of a piece of property from one party to another. The terms are used most often in the field of real estate, but deeds are also used in other circumstances.

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Full Answer

"Title" in real estate refers to the legal concept of ownership. A title may be full or partial, meaning that other parties also have rights to the property. Possessing the title to a property implies several rights, including the right to have access to the property, to use it and to transfer that title to another party in whole or in part.

The deed, as the legal instrument that transfers the title from one party to another and under the Statue of Frauds, must be a written document signed by both parties. The seller is known as the grantor and the buyer as the grantee. In most states, the deed must be registered with a courthouse or assessor's office to be fully binding but non-registration does not invalidate the actual sale. It only produces an irregularity in the sale's documentation, referred to as an "imperfect deed."

Deeds are also used in specialized circumstances, such as a tax deed that is issued when property is sold to pay unpaid taxes, or an executor's deed, issued by the executor of an estate when selling the estate's assets.

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    A fee simple title holder is someone who owns a piece of property and has absolute ownership and rights to that property. This ownership includes the land and any improvements on the land, and no one has the right to take away the fee simple title holder's property, states Zillow.

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    Changing the name on a real estate deed requires signing a new deed to transfer ownership to another person and then recording the deed in the jurisdiction where the property is located, according to Realtor.com. Working with a real estate attorney ensures proper execution of the transfer.

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    A quitclaim deed is a deed used to transfer property ownership when no sale is involved, according to Realtor.com, meaning that there is no money exchanged and no title insurance issued in the transaction. A quitclaim deed only affects property ownership, not the financial responsibility of a mortgage.

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    A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a title-transferring document that delivers title from the homeowners to the bank that holds the mortgage, according to About.com. Banks are under no obligation to accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Another option used to avoid a foreclosure is a short sale.

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