Title: The ownership of property, which stands against the right of anyone else to claim the property.
Title: The rights to a piece of property in which a homeowner may own either a legal interest or equitable interest.
TItle: Ensuring Ownership of Property
In property law, a title is the right to a piece of property in which a homeowner may have a legal interest or equitable interest. The rights are evidenced in a formal document, known as a deed, which verifies ownership.
During the foreclosure process, the title of the property is called into question. After a default on the mortgage occurs, the bank must show that it has all the paperwork necessary to prove its right to claim the title. Meanwhile, homeowners can challenge the claim and attempt to get the loan modified to remain in their homes.
The process of determining who has a claim to the title takes time in order to determine the defects of the title and arrive at a clear title.
According to North Carolina attorney Gary Bowers, “The purchaser and lender will both want a clear title for the property. Upon receipt of a real estate purchase agreement or a request from a bank or mortgage broker, the closing attorney will begin to check the title to the property being sold. The title examination is for the purchaser and the lender to evaluate title to the real estate. The purchaser will need to know whether there are certain restrictions to use, easements, encroachments or whether the title is marketable and clear for the seller to transfer to purchaser.
“The closing attorney will identify any existing mortgages against the real estate that will need to be satisfied at closing in order to transfer good title. The lender will want to have an overview of what liens, judgments and mortgages, if any, exist that must be addressed prior to or at closing so it can secure a 1st lien position on the real estate. Also, the title examination provides the lender’s underwriters with opportunity to raise concern with the status of the title.”
Oftentimes, people confuse the concept of a title with a deed, yet they are two distinct legal terms.
A title refers to ownership of the property, meaning a homeowner, who may have partial or full interest in the property, has the rights to use that property. The title allows homeowners access to the property and the right to modify it. They are also allowed to transfer the interest or portion they own to others.
Deeds, however, are legal documents that transfer title from one party to another. They must be a written document, according to the Statute of Frauds. The deed is the vehicle of the property interest transfer and can be less than the title the homeowner. Deeds are recorded in the county courthouse to ensure they are fully binding, though failure to file a deed does not change the transfer of title.
According to Texas National Title, “A property title is the vehicle in which ownership transfers from one person to another, and is composed of three basic elements:
- Rights and interests that are published in public records or by inspection of the property (such as deeds, mortgages and leases);
- Rights and interests that are not recorded but exist (such as limitations imposed by laws and statutes);
- Rights and interests that are hidden (such as forgeries, secret marriages and unknown heirs).
- Every title is made up of many different “rights” and “interests” that may be owned by different people. The most valuable rights and interests are owned by the property’s owners, but others may also have rights to the property, such as liens for unpaid utilities, homeowner’s dues or mortgages.”