Deed

What’s the Difference Between a Title and a Deed?

September 1, 2019

You may use the two terms interchangeably, but there’s actually a significant difference between the deed to your home and the title. When you’re going through the home-buying process, it’s important to understand the distinction.

The two terms are closely intertwined, however, they are not one and the same. The differences are subtle. A deed is a physical, legal document that conveys the ownership rights to a real estate property. The deed must be signed by both buyer and seller to be valid, and should be duly stamped and attested in the presence of witnesses.

Title, on the other hand, is not a physical document but rather a concept. It’s a legal position saying the buyer has taken ownership of the property. The deed sets up complete rights to a particular property while the title shows the ultimate ownership over the property. Having title, then, means a person has the legal right to use a specific property.

Put another way: at the closing for a real estate property, the buyer will receive the deed, an official document stating they now have title to the real estate.

Before you take title of a property and get the deed, the first step will be for the title company to perform a title search. This process is meant to ensure the seller has the legal right to sell the property to you, and to check that there are no liens on the property. Assuming the title is clear, the seller will transfer the title to the buyer at closing. After closing, the title company will typically take care of recording the deed with the county assessor’s office or courthouse. Once the paperwork has been filed, the buyer officially has both deed and title to the real estate property.

For more information about the home-buying process, visit our blog.