#42 Home Sellers Don’t Delay Understanding How Your Home Is Titled


Getting educated on the best way to take title to a new home (called real property) when purchasing it is often overlooked by homebuyers. Since most homeowners didn’t review the property titling options when they purchased their house they often find out the different types of homeownership when they are ready to sell. This is important when selling a home and could keep a closing from being delayed if reviewed before putting the house on the market for sale. Here are some of the ways to hold title to a house:

  1. Sole Ownership

The easiest way to hold title to a home is through sole ownership. Most single people hold title of their home in only their own name. It is called “ownership in severalty”. If a single person takes title to real property in their name only for sole ownership, then decides to get married, in many states (not all) the spouse of the person would need to sign a quitclaim deed in order to give up or release any ownership interest in the subject property they may have acquired at the time of saying “I Do”.

  1. Tenants in Common

When there are two or more owners that take title to real estate they could become tenants in common (sometimes this type of title is referred to as a tenancy in common). An example would be three real estate investors, multiple family members, or even a married couple selecting this method. Each of them would have a certain percentage interest in the property. The percentage of money invested by each owner is generally used to determine their interest in the subject property. The percentage of ownership can be equal or unequal ownership.

A benefit of this type of title is each owner would be permitted to sell or pass their interest in the property to someone else without permission of the other owners. This type of ownership is highly popular among investors, first marriages, second marriages, and family. However, a disadvantage of this form of ownership can happen when one of the owners voluntarily or involuntarily (death) decides to transfer their ownership to another party other party. This could mean all the other owners could end owning the property with a complete stranger.

  1. Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

Taking title to real property using this option is common practice with married couples. All co-owners have to take title at the same time when title is held in a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Each of the owners would have an equal share and the last surviving co-owner would end up owning the entire property. When a joint tenant dies, the surviving joint tenant(s) would receive the deceased’s share in ownership.

  1. Community Property

When couples acquire property in community property states such as Louisiana, Nevada, California, Washington or others, they can take title as community property. Both the husband and wife would own half of the property which could be passed to the other spouse only by will or if the spouse survives. 

  1. Living Trust

One of the best ways to hold residential real estate is in a revocable living trust. Some of the advantages of this form of title include avoidance of probate costs and the ability of the owner to spell out exactly what happens to the property upon death. It doesn’t cost much to create a living trust but the cost does depend on the complexity of the situation. There are no real disadvantages to living trust.


The best way to title residential real estate depends on your specific situation and needs. If you are single, then sole ownership might be the best answer. On the other hand, if you are married, a living trust could be your best bet. Always check with an attorney to find out more about properly titling a home before closing.

In this video, title expert Doug Simmons explains to Curtis the most common ways homes are titled and clarifies the importance of titling property correctly, especially if another owner of the property passes away.



Are You Really Ready to Close the Deal on Your Home

This video is brought to you by:

Our free class, Recognizing Pitfalls to Selling a Home. If you are struggling to know where to start in the home selling process or if you’re lacking the confidence you need to get started, the free class is for you!