By Matthew D. Gailey | Gailey Law Group
Northsiders, like all Americans, often believe in having the American Dream. One of the main aspects of the American Dream is to own your own home. Legally, there are many steps to purchasing and owning a home. This month’s article will focus on defining some of the main concepts of acquiring a home of your own.
Firstly, a term that is used when discussing property is “deed.” A deed in Pennsylvania is a document in writing that is used to transfer ownership of property from one party (the grantor) to another party (the grantee). The deed must describe the property and disclose the current owner and the new owner.
There are different types of deeds as well. A general warranty deed covers the property’s entire history and asserts that there are no defects with any past transfers. A quit claim deed, most often used with family members, transfers interest in property. A special warranty deed only warrants against anything that occurred during the current owner’s ownership, and nothing before. Essentially, a “deed” is the document that details who owns the property.
Secondly, a term that is used when discussing property is “title.” Title refers to how a property is owned; namely what rights are held by the owners in respect to the property. In Pennsylvania, for a transaction to be valid, good title must be passed, meaning that the owners must possess an aggregate of legally transferrable ownership rights. For this reason, title searches are conducted prior to every sale of the property to ensure that a seller has good title.
Finally, there are numerous ways that a property can be owned. For instance, a person can hold property in fee simple, a life estate, or have a concurrent ownership with another like tenants in common or a tenancy by the entirety (usually between spouses). It is important if a person is acquiring property to know exactly what type of arrangement they are entering.