For many people, owning property — particularly your own home — is a major part of the proverbial “American Dream.”
In the past, only the very wealthy were able to become landowners. But today, home and property ownership are possible for more people than ever. And because of the nature of property ownership, and the fact that many people can now own homes and property, understanding the real estate title transfer process is vital. The expert real estate attorneys at The Farah Law Firm can help you understand titles, deeds, and how real estate title transfers work in Texas.
What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Title and a Deed?
The terms “deed” and “title” are not synonymous. A title conveys the idea of legal ownership of a Texas property, as well as the legal rights that come with that ownership. A title is not a physical document, but rather a concept that is conveyed through a property deed — which is an official document that shows your legal ownership of a property. If you have a valid Texas property deed, then you are entitled to all the rights that come with it.
Real Estate Titles in Texas
As a legal property owner in Texas, your title grants you:
- Right of possession: As the legal property owner, you have the right to claim ownership of the property and anything on it. It is important to note, however, that it is your responsibility find out if your title includes water and mineral rights.
- Right of control: You can use the property any way you please, so long as it is lawful and does not conflict with zoning restrictions or the rules of a homeowner’s association.
- Right of enjoyment: You can enjoy the use of your property in any manner that is considered lawful.
- Right of exclusion: As the legal owner, you have the right to choose whom you allow on your property. However, if your property has some type of utility or access easement (the legal right to use or access a property without having ownership of it), the owner of the easement has the right to access the property. They are required, though, to abide by the legal terms of the easement.
- Right of disposition: You can transfer ownership either permanently or temporarily whenever you want, as long as there are no liens or loans against the property.
Real Estate Deeds in Texas
You can only transfer a title in Texas with a deed transfer. Any time a property is transferred from one owner to another, the deed — and thereby the title — changes hands.
A Texas real estate deed must contain the following in order to be considered legal and enforceable:
- Identities of both the grantee (buyer/recipient) and the grantor (seller)
- Expression of the grantor’s intent to transfer the property to the grantee
- A legal and accurate description of the property and any rights associated with it
- The grantor’s signature
Multiple types of deeds exist for various needs, including:
- Transfer on Death Deed: Allows property to go to a new owner after the death of the prior owner without having to first go through probate.
- Warranty Deed: Guarantees the quality and marketability of the title. It is proof that the seller owns the land and has the right to see to the grantee.
- Deed of Trust: The deed of trust is like a mortgage. A trustee receives the title and hols the property as security for a loan. Once the debt is paid, the title is transferred back to the borrower. The trustee is only allowed to sell off the property if the borrower defaults on their loan.
- General Warranty Deed: Guarantees that the neither the seller nor anyone else has done any damage to the property.
- Quitclaim Deed: When this deed is signed, the grantor surrenders all rights they have to the property, and they have no responsibility to the grantee.
- Special Warranty Deed: A special or limited warranty deed is proof that the current owner has done nothing to damage the property or to adversely affect the title. It does not make the grantor liable for title defects caused by previous or fraudulent owners.
Texas Real Estate Deed and Title Transfer Process
The transfer of real estate in the United States is tracked and recorded. The documents are filed at the county recorder’s office and are part of public record. If you intend to buy or sell property in Texas, you need to update and file the official documents so that they reflect the transfer. Failure to do so can result in the invalidation of the property transfer.
A deed transfer needs to take place when:
- You intend to sell a property
- If you or someone else is removed from the title
- A name on the title needs to be changed
You cannot transfer a title via word of mouth. It must be done in writing and the deed needs to be notarized. Once that is done, you will file the deed with the county recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located.
Engaging the services of a real estate attorney to help you with the deed and title transfer process will ensure that you are legally protected in the buying or selling of your property.
Turn to The Farah Law Firm for Your Deed Transfer
The real estate attorneys at The Farah Law Firm can help you navigate the deed transfer process and ensure that you are filing the correct type of deed. We offer 24-hour turnaround time for our deed services in all North Texas counties, at a flat fee of $375 for most types of deeds. In many cases, we can even provide same-day deed preparation. And it can all be done online.
Contact our office today to learn more about our residential and commercial deed transfer services.