You’ve probably heard of the real estate terms, title and deed before. But what do they mean? How are they different? While most people might think that they are the same thing, they are two separate legal entities.
To start, title refers to the ownership of the property or the right to use the land. A title may be full or partial, meaning that other parties can have rights to the property. Possessing title gives a person the right to access the property, use it, and transfer that title to another party. Evidence of title is established through a title search which is typically performed by the settlement agent to show the chain of title is clean and clear of all liens.
On the other hand, a deed is the legal document that transfers the title of the property from one party to another. Under the Statue of Frauds, the deed must be a written document signed by both parties. Deeds must be recorded in the local courthouse to make them fully binding. There are different types of deeds but a general warranty deed is the most commonly used one in Virginia real estate transactions. It offers the best protection to the buyer as it guarantees that the title is good and marketable (free from conflict). The grantor (seller) promises the grantee (buyer) that the grantor will defend the grantee from any and all claims made by third parties.
So while the title and deed of a property go hand in hand, they clearly serve separate purposes. To recap, the title pertains to the ownership of the land and the deed is the legal document to transfer that ownership. Hopefully, you now know the difference. If you have any real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come back next Wednesday for another great Real Estate Tip of the Week!