Titles vs. Deeds: What's the Difference?
Titles and deeds are two legal property ownership terms that can easily be confused. Title is a combination of legal ownership rights that come with a property, while a deed is a written document that records or confirms who has the rights to a property. To better understand the differences between these two terms, let's look a little bit deeper at each.
What is a deed?
Deeds are formal documents that, to be enforceable, need to stamped, signed, and witnessed, often by multiple parties. In addition, a copy of the deed needs to be sent to a local authority, often a local government agency. After the title search and verification process and the purchase of title insurance, the old owner of the property signs away the deed to the new one.
What is a title?
Unlike a deed, which is a document, a title is more of an abstract term-- it's often referred to as a "bundle of rights" to a specific property. However, titles still do have a written form, albeit indirectly. An abstract of title, which is prepared by a title abstractor, is a record of all the important actions and occurrences that have affected a property's title over the life of the property, including the original property grant, and any conveyances, easements, or encumbrances. Despite that, an abstract may not cover everything, which means that it's simply a record, not a legally binding document in it's own right.