What is a Short Form Deed of Trust?

A deed of trust (DOT), also known as a trust deed, is a document that conveys title to real property to a trustee as security for a loan until the grantor (borrower) repays the lender according to terms defined in an attached promissory note. It’s similar to a mortgage, but differs in that mortgages only includes two parties (borrower and lender). The laws of each state determine whether to use a deed of trust or a mortgage.

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What Is a “Due on Sale” Clause and What Does It Mean to Me?

Many people obtain loans to buy real estate. The term “security instruments” is a catch-all phrase used to describe these loans, whether they are mortgages or deeds of trust, and the associated promissory notes. These documents secure debt with a lien on the real property identified in the loan papers, by transferring title to the lenders until the loan is repaid. They also set out the terms and conditions of the loan agreement between the lender and the borrower. The loans might originate with a bank, another type of lender, or come from a federal agency, such as the VA, Fannie Mae or HUD.

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What is a Special Warranty Deed?

If you’re like most people planning to make a real estate purchase, you want to know that the property you’re purchasing is actually owned by the seller, that it’s in reasonably good shape, and that the title is free of defects. Real estate transactions aren’t always as seamless or clean as buyers might like, though. A special warranty deed—sometimes referred to as a limited warranty deed—warrants only against defects during the seller’s time as property owner. It will not protect against title issues that arose prior to the time the seller took occupancy. Consequently, it offers less protection to buyers, and more protection to sellers, than a general warranty deed, which is the most common option for selling or buying a property.

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Which Real Estate Deed Should I Use to Transfer Ownership of My Property?

About 64% of American households own their home, and millions more own properties they plan to develop, office buildings, inheritances in the form of real property, and land they may never use. The average person moves 11 times in his or her lifetime. All of this property, all of that moving, and the ever-shifting nature of life in an uncertain world add up to one fact that will probably never change: lots of people are transferring lots of properties.

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The Guide to Beneficiary Deeds

A will might seem like the simplest way to leave something to a loved one or other beneficiary, and it’s certainly the most common, but wills must be probated. This necessitates a lengthy process that can slow the transfer of property from a decedent to a beneficiary; it also opens the door to will disputes that can add further delays. Special deeds, sometimes called transfer-on-death (TOD) deeds, simplify the transfer, but they come with their own set of potential legal issues. 

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Understanding Transfer on Death Deeds

Real estate is often one of the most significant assets to consider in a comprehensive estate plan. There are several ways to distribute the property after the owner’s death. Some of the more common options are wills, trusts, joint ownership, or transfer on death (TOD) deeds. Note: unless identified otherwise, all definitions originated with Black’s Law Dictionary, Eighth Edition.

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What are Deed Restrictions?

For most people, buying a piece of land is a simple proposition: pay the money, file the deed, and the property is yours. Deed restrictions, though, make it clear that the world of real estate transactions is rarely so simple. Simply put, deed restrictions limit what you can and can’t do with your home. A common tool for homeowners associations to maintain uniformity in the neighborhood, deed restrictions can be added by parties such as the builder or developer, the homeowners association, or even a previous owner. Once a deed restriction is put in place, it can be very difficult to have it removed, and in many cases removal may be impossible.

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Types of Vesting Related to Real Estate Ownership

Title vesting is the way an owner (or owners) of property takes title to their real estate. The way that title is held will affect what the owner (or owners) can do with the property during his or her lifetime, and will also determine whether or not the property has to go through probate proceedings upon the owner’s death.

When a deed is written for real property, the ownership is described using the owner’s name and a descriptive phrase for the legal relationship between multiple owners or married people. Vesting decisions will vary from state to state.

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