What Is the Difference Between a Deed and a Title?

Published On: April 8, 2022

Discover What Makes a Deed and Title Different

The world of real estate is full of jargon – MLS, buyers’ agent, appraisal, amortization, origination fee, purchase agreement, to name a few. If you are a first-time homebuyer, or even a seasoned real estate investor, there are two other terms – deed and title – you may be familiar with. While most people use the terms title and deed interchangeably, they are actually two different things with two different purposes.

What exactly is a property deed? And how is it different from a property title? Let’s take a close look at each term and what it means when you are buying or selling a home.

What is a Title?

A title is not an actual ‘physical’ thing but rather is a concept. A title is your “bundle of rights” related to homeownership. A title is a legal way of saying you have ownership of the property and can access the house and land at any time and use it as you see fit.

The bundle of rights includes:

  • Right of possession
  • Right of control
  • Right of exclusion
  • Right of enjoyment
  • Right of disposition

Having the title to a property also means that you can sell the property at any time, assuming that the title is “clean.” A clean title means you’ve proven the home is free of any defects such as liens, judgments, or bankruptcies. During a real estate transaction, a title company will conduct a title search to uncover any title defects that may prevent the sale from going through.

Common title defects include:

  • Unknown liens
  • Surprise heirs
  • Fraud
  • Disputed property boundaries
  • Clerical errors
  • Unknown easements

When buying a home, your mortgage lender will require lender’s title insurance, which protects their investment from title defects found after settlement. Owner’s title insurance, like lender’s title insurance, protects you from title issues for the duration of your homeownership. This insurance, although optional, is highly recommended in case of unknown title defects that may come to light after the sale of the home.

What is a Deed?

A deed is an official legal document used to transfer ownership from the current owner, or grantor, to another party. A deed will generally include the names of both the home buyer and the home seller.

There are several different types of deeds including:

  • General warranty deed: This is the most common in traditional home sales. It provides the most protection and means that the owner has a clear title and right to sell the property and has no knowledge of any issues that may arise with the property.
  • Special-purpose deed: A special-purpose deed, also known as a special guarantee deed, is similar to a general warranty deed, with one exception – it guarantees the title is clean for only the time you’ve owned the property. This type of deed is generally used in commercial real estate transactions.
  • Quitclaim deed: A quitclaim deed offers the least amount of protection for a buyer. It transfers the rights and ownership to the buyer, however, does not guarantee the seller has the right to do so. This type of deed is often used when close friends or family members are transferring ownership, for example, when a father passed down the family home to a daughter.

Your title company will prepare the paperwork and closing documents – including the deed – for your settlement. On the day of your settlement, you will receive your property deed as well as your title. Although the two terms are closely related, they are two different things with two different purposes.

Real Estate Settlement Services in York, Pa.

Watermark Land Transfer is your local go-to for real estate settlement services. Our team provides concierge-level services to consumers, realtors, and real estate investors and can help make your next real estate transaction stress-free and smooth. We are licensed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and offer both on-site and virtual services. If you are in the process of buying or selling a home, reach out today to learn how we can help.

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The Benefits Of Choosing Watermark

Watermark Land Transfer is a real estate title company in York, PA offering title services, title insurance, closing and settlement services, and notary services. Our goal is simple - to provide our clients and our community with the resources they need for a hassle-free closing. We are more than a title company and work hard to show our clients that we are truly consumer-focused.

Our team of title agents makes it easy for homeowners to buy or sell a home in Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. We offer both on-site and virtual title and settlement services and treat our clients like family. If you are in the process of selling or buying a home, reach out to us today to see how working with Watermark Land Transfer can help.

1st Watermark Benefits

We Are Vested in You

When you work with Watermark Land Transfer for your real estate transaction, we are truly vested in your success. We treat each contract, document, and closing as if it were our own.

2nd Watermark Benefits

We Keep You In the Loop

During the closing process, we will keep you informed every step of the way so there are no surprises on settlement day.

3rd Watermark Benefits

We Live Here, Too

Watermark Land Transfer is an independent, locally owned title company. We have the flexibility to get things done for you without the constraints of a national title company.