The language of real estate, much like that used in any sort of transaction or activity that necessitates a lot of legal paperwork, can get a bit tricky. Everybody involved will bandy about a lot of phrases and terms, some of which you may have never heard before. Some of them may make absolutely no sense or mean something totally different from what you think. We put out a nice, long dictionary of terms earlier this year that’s sure to come in handy when house hunting. But now we’ll focus on two terms you’ll hear a lot during the process : “deed” and “title.” At first glance, those words may sound like synonyms. But there are a few key differences worth knowing.
What is a deed?
The key thing that separates a deed from a title is that a deed is an actual, physical document. The deed to any house, apartment, or other kind of property is the written document that demonstrates ownership. The owner signs it and, if the deed belonged to someone else before them, whoever has legal charge of the sale signs it as well.
What is a title?
A title is more of a concept as opposed to any sort of physical or written document. There’s no piece of paper that says “title” at the top in bold, it’s the notion of legal ownership. When someone has the title to a piece of property it’s simply the official way to say it rightfully belongs to them.
How are deed and title related?
The short answer is, if you own the deed to a house you have the title to it. But it’s not 100% automatic. When you buy a home and sign the deed, you then must file it with the appropriate authority (typically your city, count, or other local government) to truly vest you with the title to the property. The definitions and relation of the two words are fairly straightforward and it’s good to know them. The less confusion you have during your home-buying process, the better.