When you’re purchasing real estate for the first time, the lingo used can be a big source of confusion. The biggest mistake first-time buyers make is the difference between a property deed and property title. While similar in definition, the difference is significant from a legal standpoint.

Before you make a property purchase, be sure you fully understand the difference between these two concepts. Doing so will keep you from legal headaches in the future.

What Is a Property Deed?

Most people assume a property deed and title are the same thing. Sometimes this is true: If you’re the only person who has ever owned your property, you likely have a deed in addition to the title. A property deed is a legal document you sign to certify that you legally own the property. This legal document officially transfers the title from one person to another.

Transfers for property deeds must be recorded in the courthouse or assessor’s office in order to be successful and legally binding. A physical signature must appear on the deed according to the Statute of Frauds in the United States. Unlike the consequences that come with clerical errors regarding property title, failure to appropriately file property deed transfer does not result in a cloud on your title. It simply means there was an error with the paperwork regarding the deed and will not affect your ability to obtain title insurance for your property.

What Is a Property Title?

Property titles are different from deeds: Rather than a physical document, a title acts as a legal concept that illustrates the chain of financial and legal responsibility for property owners. For example, if the property deed is in another family member’s name, you can still claim rights to the property title. Having rights to the property title means that you have a legal right to use that property. A title can be partially or wholly owned, depending on the circumstances.

You can transfer all or some of the interest from your property title to others. When you do this, the new owner becomes financially responsible for any existing liens on the property in relation to that interest. This can become a problem for real estate investors purchasing properties at county auctions as pre-existing liens may become your financial obligation.

How Can Tax Title Services Help?

If you’ve recently acquired a property title and are unsure about the title’s history, the best way to protect yourself is through title certification with Tax Title Services. Our unique certification process verifies the completeness and accuracy of tax lien foreclosure due process. This ensures that you will not face further financial obligation for pre-existing liens. After certification is complete, we’ll connect you to a title insurance agent to help you obtain title insurance and protect your assets for years to come.

When you need help navigating the legal waters surrounding your property’s title, contact the tax title curative consultants at TTS for fast, inexpensive title solutions.