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A beginners Guide to house titles

A beginners Guide to house titles

Posted by Heartland on 26th Dec 2022

About two-thirds of Americans are planning to buy, sell, or refinance a home in 2023. Are you one of them?

If you're on the "buying" side for the first time, this is an exciting time! New homeowners have so much to look forward to, but also so much to learn. For example, what do you know about house titles?

We're here to talk all about house titles, so you know what you're getting yourself into. Read on to learn more.


A house title shows the rights to ownership of a home. Unlike a deed, it's not a physical piece of documentation. It's conceptual.

A deed is like the physical manifestation of the title (and the transfer of the title when a home is sold). If a homeowner doesn't actually have complete ownership of their home, they may not be able to sell it.

Someone can "own" a home and still not have complete rights to it. For example, they may have a lien on the home which means that another party (such as a bank or a contractor) has some claim on it until their debt is paid.

A title company is responsible for identifying this before the sale of the house, so the buyer doesn't inherit the debt.

There are also unusual circumstances that may make a title less clear-cut. For example, if someone else aside from the homeowner technically has a right to the home (such as a long-lost heir of a previous owner), things may get complicated.


There are multiple types of home titles.

Sole ownership is the main method of holding a title. It's also the most straightforward. It means that the person holding this title is the sole owner of the home.

This is best for single homebuyers or spouses who want to be full owners. The other spouse, in this case, would not be a legal owner of the home.

Joint tenancy is a title that splits ownership between two people equally. This is most common for married couples who want to split ownership. If one owner was to pass away, the other owner would inherit their title and get complete ownership.

Tenancy in common is another option. Again, two people own the home, but they can split ownership however they choose rather than it being equal. Each party can do what they wish with their portion of the home.

These are just a few options. It's best to talk with a professional if you want to know all of the ways that you can hold a title so you can decide which one is right for you.


Before you complete the home-buying process, it's best to have a title company conduct a title search. This way, you'll know that you're getting complete ownership over your new home because the person selling it to you has complete ownership over it currently.

You should also invest in title insurance. Title insurance insures you against future claims. In many cases, the seller will cover the cost of the buyer's title insurance policy.


House titles might seem complicated, but as long as the person selling you your home has complete ownership over it, they're pretty straightforward. When in doubt, have a title company run a title search just in case.

Are you in need of title insurance so you can protect your title and ownership of your home? At Heartland Abstract, we want to help! Contact us to get started today.