Deed vs. Title: What’s the Difference?

While these terms are related, they are not one and the same. A deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of a property from one party to another. Title represents the ownership of that property (what rights a person has to it).

Titles and deeds can also take on different forms. For example, a common type of deed is a quitclaim deed.

This deed can be used in the case of a married couple who purchases a home together. If they would prefer that only one of them have ownership interest in the property, they can use a quitclaim deed. The person who will have no ownership interest uses this deed to sign away their rights to the other party. This might be done for financial or legal reasons.

If, at some point in time, a spouse needs to be added, they would use a quitclaim to make this change as well.

Regarding titles, once a person is added to a title, they may “hold title” in one of several ways. This holding refers to what legal rights each person on the title has.

A common example is “tenants by the entirety.” This is often used by married couples. In this situation, if one of the parties passes away, the other automatically becomes sole owner of the property.

There are other ways title can be held, especially for nonmarried couples. Each version gives each party specific rights as to what they are able to do with the property, both while they are alive and after they pass.

For more details on these variations, contact your mortgage professional.