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Update: What Is the Difference Between a Title and a Deed in Illinois?

 Posted on May 24, 2023 in DuPage County Real Estate Attorney

Wheaton Real Estate LawyerOriginally Published on March 31, 2021--------- Updated May 24, 2023

One of the most frustrating aspects of a real estate transaction is interpreting legalese and real estate jargon. In this popular blog, we explain the difference between a title and a deed. Essentially, having the title to a home gives you legal authority over the home. One or more parties may hold the title to a real estate property. On the other hand, a deed is a physical document that shows proof of ownership.  

If you are planning to buy or sell real estate, make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities. Whether it is a residential property or a commercial property, real estate transactions are loaded with complicated language and complex legal paperwork. Unfortunately, real estate transactions rarely go as smoothly as one would hope.

Boundary disputes, hidden defects, easements, encroachments, and countless other issues can arise that threaten to derail your chances of a successful transaction. To ensure you have access to the legal support and assistance you need during your real estate transaction, work with an experienced Naperville real estate lawyer. 

If you are a first-time homebuyer, there are many legal terms with which you may not be familiar. In residential real estate terms, a deed is a document that proves the transfer of a title of a specific property from one individual to another. A title is the legal right to use and alter the property if the owner so chooses. With a title, the owner can also transfer interest or any portion to others through the deed, which represents the right of the owner to claim the property. The main difference is the title describes or names the primary holder of the property, whereas the deed is the official legal document that is filed.

The Importance of a Title

There is an old saying, “What is in a title?” Basically, title is the legal term that refers to ownership of something. It may be helpful to think of the word “entitle,” which means having ownership or control over something. In real estate, that would be property. A title is a very important element in residential real estate transactions. When a person holds a title to a home, they possess the legal rights, ownership control, and responsibility of that house. Titles can be held by a single person or by two or more individuals, such as a married couple or an adult and his or her parents. It is important to note that titles can also be held by corporations, organizations, and trusts where all the involved parties share certain ownership rights.

Details of the Deed

A deed is the actual paperwork that is signed by someone who is selling or transferring over the rights to their property, and this person is typically known as the grantor. The person buying or taking possession of the home is referred to as the grantee. The deed includes the names of the property’s seller and the buyer, and the seller must sign it to confirm the transfer of ownership.

In the home closing process, a “title search” is ordered to find any public records that may affect the ownership of the property. Examples of these types of records include previous deeds, second mortgages, any liens against the property, last will and testaments, and divorce settlements. Once the search is completed, the title examiner verifies the property’s legal owner in addition to any debts that are owed against the property, such as a second or third mortgage. The examiner uses the data to create the “title abstract,” which signifies that the seller has the right to transfer the property. The real estate agent then prepares all of the closing documents, including the deed. At the closing, the seller signs the deed, which then transfers the title and ownership of the property.

The title or escrow company makes sure that the deed is recorded with the county assessor's office or courthouse. A notification is typically sent within a few weeks of the closing confirming that the deed has been recorded.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Real Estate Lawyer

Regardless if you are purchasing a residence or a commercial building, it is imperative that you understand the legal process in order to protect your rights. Each of the attorneys Stock, Carlson & Duff, LLC has over 40 years of experience, and they are well-versed in residential and commercial real estate transactions and disputes in Chicago and the suburbs. We will assist you with all of your real estate needs. Call one of our accomplished DuPage County real estate lawyers today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a private consultation.



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