What is a Title?

A property’s title is the legal way of saying who owns the property and has the rights to it. The title is not a physical document. Instead, it’s a set of legal privileges that the homeowner is afforded. A deed is the actual, physical document that shows the name of the owner and allows the legal transfer of ownership from one party to another.

Why is this term important?

Property titles are important as they represent an owner’s legal rights to the property.

When purchasing a home, a buyer should ensure that the person they’re buying it from is the actual title holder. This means there is no other party that can either stop the purchase or make a claim on the property once the new owner has moved in. 

A buyer’s conveyance lawyer will conduct a title search and most buyer’s also choose, or are required, to purchase title insurance. Title insurance will protect the buyer in the event that someone later sues and says they have a claim to the property.

Here is an example:

A property’s title gives the owner certain rights including:

  • The right of possession — the owner is the legal owner of the property
  • The right of control — the owner can use the property as they choose
  • The right of exclusion — the owner has the right to prohibit others from using or entering the property
  • The right of enjoyment — the owner has the right to enjoy the property in any way, within reason.
  • The right of disposition — the owner has the right to sell or rent the property so long as there are no liens or holds on the property

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