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What’s the difference between a title and a deed?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Tampa Real Estate Attorney, Title Closings

You might have heard these terms used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand that they are two different things. It may be helpful for you to find out what makes them distinct from each another if you ever plan to buy or sell property in Florida.

The deed is the paper, the title gives you the rights

In real estate, the deed is the actual piece of paper. This physical document is how ownership rights are passed to the buyer from the seller. An assessor’s office or courthouse will usually record this document.

A title, on the other hand, is what gives someone the right to legally own the property. When someone has the title to a piece of real estate, they are allowed to use it as they wish. This includes the right to sell the land.

A title is there to represent the fact that you legally own and can use real property. Someone takes the title of a property when they purchase it.

Conversely, prior to real estate title closings, you have to clear the title. This involves proving that you own the property and that there aren’t any added claims on it. These are also called encumbrances.

Make sure property ownership is settled

Something that deeds and titles have in common is that they are both key in finding out who actually owns and can sell the property. When buying or selling property, complications commonly arise if property ownership is unclear. This might happen if previous transfers of ownership weren’t handled properly or if there is a lien on the property. In both cases, it may be harder for the property owner to sell.

There are some misconceptions about titles. One of the most common is that it’s a paper you keep in your house somewhere. This would more closely describe the deed. It’s worth it to find out what the difference is between titles and deeds if you’re ever in the real estate game.