12 Jan Do You ACTUALLY Own Your House?
Do you own your house?
This may sound like a silly question, but in my experience many people do not know the answer to this question. Some people think ownership is based on what is shown in the tax records at the central appraisal district for their county; others believe the bank holds the ownership; and still others (usually surviving friends or family of a deceased person) assume that because they may have been paying the mortgage or property taxes personally that they own the home in question. The list of what I’ve heard on this topic goes on and on.
Property law is complex and with so many different entities and legal documents and processes involved in purchasing a home, it can be very confusing to sort out which record officially indicates ownership of the property. This blog will not attempt to explain all the complexities of property law. That would take months of law school! Recently, I found the property law books that I studied in law school and the introductory book to property law was 1,202 pages long – don’t worry I will spare you 1,200+ pages of information.
Bottom line: official ownership of your house is based on a conveyance made in writing, often known as a deed. If you want to know who owns a piece of property, you need to find the deed.
How do you find the deed? The formal way to provide notice to the world regarding who owns property in Texas is to properly execute a deed and file it with the County Clerk in the county where the property is located. To find the deed for a property, you should search in the County Clerk’s deed record.
So, how do you know if you own your house? You have a properly executed deed that names you or you as trustee of your living trust as the grantee of the property. Ownership of a home is based on what a properly executed deed says. Documents such as mortgage papers, appraisal district records, and all other sources referencing ownership are not the formal ownership records. As such, there are many instances where those secondary sources may be incorrect, and the proof of ownership will be proven through the deed record.
Do you have property sale, purchase, or ownership questions? Email us today!