When buying a parcel of land or a home, you may have heard of the “title” to your property. This isn’t just what your property is called, but an assorted bundle of rights and legal definitions surrounding the land. This can mean everything from the things you usually think of when you think of owning land. This includes the right to exclusive possession and use of the land, the right to sell or give the land to someone else, etc. However, it can also include—or exclude!—things like mineral rights, water rights, or easements for your neighbors to access their properties.
Deeds vs. Titles
Another word you may have heard thrown around is “deed.” The deed refers to the actual physical paperwork that transfer the title from the previous owner.
Investigating Your Title
Titles can also have limits on them, placed by former owners. This can include liens—special mortgages placed on the property to force the owner to pay a debt, or a covenant of record, which is a promise about usage made by a past owner.
Understanding what your title does and does not cover is a critical part of real estate ownership, and can prevent legal headaches later on.
So—how do you go about finding out the details of a title, including past claims?
The easiest place to start for the history of your title is with a real estate attorney. A lawyer who specializes in doing this research can figure out if there are any issues. They can also give you steps forward, if there does turn out to be an issue with your title.
You may also want to consider title insurance as you’re buying a property, which can help offset costs if an issue comes up later on.
Keeping Your Deed and Titles Safe
While your deed and title not only give you ownership, they can also be used, along with
a surveyor, to settle property boundary disputes and other real-estate disputes. Be sure to keep your physical copy of the deed stored in a safe place, and scan and upload a copy of it to Jazmine.com, where it can stay safe on the cloud, and be accessible from wherever you are.