Property Deed Essential To Home Sale

The legal document that proves home ownership is the property deed. The person who holds the deed owns the property. If a decision is made to sell the property or otherwise dispose of it, the property deed must be produced before a legal transfer can be made.

Like all matters concerning property, documentation of a change in the ownership must be certified by a notary public.

Often, ownership disputes can be settled simply by ascertaining in the pertinent county offices the name of the individual to whom the property deed is assigned. Deeds are in the public domain and may be reviewed by anyone.

When the property is to change hands, a grant deed or special warranty deed guarantees that the property has not been sold to anyone other than the prospective buyer and there are no liens or other legal claims by a third party. A review will also be assurance that no taxes are owed on the property.

Regulations regarding property transfers vary from state to state, but there are basic elements that must be included in a grant deed to protect both buyer and seller. They include:

The deed must be written. The information must include a granting clause that transfers the title. The names of both seller and buyer must be included. A description of the property, including its address and legal boundaries, is necessary. The original deed should have this information.

The seller must sign the grant deed while he is still living and it has to be accepted by the buyer, again while the seller is alive.

While not required in some states, it is customary to have a notary witness the signatures transferring the deed.

A warranty deed, while serving the same purposes as a grant deed, gives additional assurance that the seller will deal with any third-party claims. Another type of deed, a quitclaim, affirms that any would-be seller other than the one who holds the deed, has no interest. This sometimes applies when one or the other spouse comes into a marriage already owning property.The non-owner spouse signs the quitclaim deed to ensure that he or she will not claim ownership of the property in the future.

If a property is seized because of failure to pay taxes, a tax deed is created to transfer ownership to the individual who buys the property.