What Is The Legal Difference Between A Title And A Deed?

legal title, legal deed, San Antonio real estate, real estate law

In the world of real estate law, the terminology can be confusing. Titles and deeds are two terms that are very common when buying or selling a home. It is essential to understand the legality and meaning of both words.

Dan Burke Law strives to help with your San Antonio real estate needs. Read ahead to learn the difference between a title and a deed.

What Is A Legal Title?

A legal title grants property ownership to the person holding the title. When holding a title, you gain legal rights to a home or other property. The holder can sell or change the property to their liking, as long as the property regulations are followed.

Title Searches

Before selling a property, the title must be free of any defects. Potential buyers wish to avoid any debts associated with an estate. In order to do this, title searches are performed to check for issues.

A few common title defects include:

  • · Unknown liens
  • · Improper title transfer
  • · Boundary or survey disputes
  • · Unpaid taxes
  • · Errors in public records


The property is marketable once the title becomes clear of any defects.

Title Abstract

Data is collected during the title search and put into the title abstract. The abstract documents the history and any records of the property. Ultimately, it deems if a person has the right to sell the property.

What Is A Legal Deed?

A legal deed is a physical document that transfers a property title from one person to another. The grantor signs the contract, agreeing to sell or transfer the property rights. The new owner takes possession of the property rights and is known as the grantee.

The deed legally documents the transferring of the title. Both parties must sign the document in order for it to be complete. It also must be notarized and entered into the public record to avoid becoming “imperfect.”

Deed Requirements

Each state has a series of different requirements for legal deeds. At a minimum, all documents need a title stating the type of deed. They also include the names of the grantor and grantee.

The document should also contain a formal and detailed description of the property. An acknowledgement by a notarial officer is also included to prove its legal validity.

While a deed is not required to be filed with the local government, it can help to avoid any issues or delays in the future.

Forged And Fraudulent Deeds

Creating a false document or altering one with incorrect details is a criminal offense. People will often pose as grantors, selling the property to an innocent third party. Anyone can be a victim of deed fraud.

It is important to take precautions to prevent forgery. Paying attention to incoming bills and monitoring your credit reports can help keep your deed safe. Regularly checking your property deed status also helps stop non-permissible changes.

Contact Us!

At Dan Burke Law, we aim to alleviate the stresses that come with buying or selling your property. If you have questions on your title or your property’s deed, give us a call today to discuss your next steps!


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