What Are the Different Types of Titles?

different types of titles

Whether you are buying or selling, you need to have a full title search on your home. Title searches confirm your ownership or the seller’s ownership. Without it, you can find yourself illegally buying or selling a home. A full title search will tell you everything you need to know, such as what type of title you have or will have. If you don’t know all the types of titles there are, you may not understand what rights you have or will have to your property.

Make sure you know and understand all the types of ownership, or else you may end up doing something with your property that you don’t have the legal right to do. With zoning laws, property ownership statutes, and more, nothing is simply just yours. 

What Are the Components of a Title?

A property’s title refers to three components. Without these three components, you don’t have a proper title, which can lead to big problems when you’re trying to buy or sell a property. 

  • Ownership: This refers to who the title says owns the property and the rights to either live or run a business on the property. 
  • Occupation: This refers to what the property will and/or can be used for. If a property is to be used for residential purposes, commercial purposes, government purposes, or a combination of the three, the title must include this information. 
  • Possession: This refers to who currently possesses the property, and has been taking care of it. Someone can own the rights to a property and allow someone to possess it. If you own a car and allow someone else to use it long-term, they have the right of possession and you have the right of ownership. This can work the same with real estate property.

Different Types of Titles

There are two overarching types of titles in Pennsylvania: titles to personal property and titles to real property. The difference between these two types of titles is where many issues revolving around liens, back taxes, and other title problems can come from. A full title search can find these issues and bring them to your attention. Let’s make sure it’s easy to understand. 

Personal Property Title

Personal property is any property that’s not affixed to lands, such as equipment, furniture, tools, and computers. This includes things you installed on land. If you installed a shed that you can break apart and move, this is not a part of a property’s title when you sell the property. Due to this distinction, if you have a portable home or a trailer house on the property, the property rights to that portable home and to the land it sits on are two separate things. 

Personal property has its own titles, technically, but more often than not, you don’t have much more than receipts to show proof of purchase.

Real Property Title

Real property is the land itself and everything attached to the land that cannot be removed. Often, this is a house. When you’re buying a home, you’re not directly buying the home but the land it is permanently attached to. This distinction is important because if someone can remove a home from the land and moves it, the home may no longer be owned by the property title. Sometimes property title for real property can specifically include the home and other things attached to the land as well.

Only vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, and flowers that cannot be removed without being destroyed, is part of the title for real property. Crops and plants that are routinely cultivated are considered personal property.

Get a Full Title Search from Our Title Insurance Lawyers

Now that you know the basics of what the different types of titles are and what they actually hold, you need to get a full title search for the property you’re interested in. Real estate transactions are complex on their own, but they can become infinitely more complicated if a title issue goes unchecked.

Instead of having a separate real estate attorney and title insurance provider, we offer both services in one place. Our real estate attorneys have experience in representing people in property sales, disputes, and more for both residential and commercial properties. Our title insurance providers through Keystone Abstract Services work with them to streamline the process. Contact us today for the real estate help you need.

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Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam

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