What is the Difference between a Deed and a Title Search?

In real estate the words deed and title are referenced frequently and interchangeably but they are two completely different things. Many people are used to seeing a title when it comes to a vehicle, and that car title document is the only title ownership document that exists in its entirety. In real estate the word title is an abstract term pertaining to the status of a specific property. On the other hand, a deed in real estate refers to a single document that references a particular event in the history of that property.

A deed is simply a record stating the transfer of ownership of a property. A new deed is created every time a property is transferred from one person to another whether it is just some or all of the property rights. The deed does not connect to any other documents for the property. There may be liens, judgments, mortgages, easements, or other transfers related to a property but they will not be stated because the deed is a historical document. A deed simply states that on a specific date one person transferred some property to another person.

A title report is as current as of the day in which it is created. It is not historical but rather combines different documents which may exist for a certain property. Determining the title status of a specific property comes down to reviewing dozens maybe even hundreds of documents about a property by performing a title search. The documents being reviewed could be liens, mortgages, deeds, releases, assignments, or judgments which are available to the public. However, a title search is normally presented on a certified property title abstract which is not part of public records but rather is created by a certified title abstractor who goes through all those documents and creates a title search report. Essentially, a property title report tells the whole story of a property and its’ current status, as opposed to a deed which is one single event.

When looking at a property you should be sure to consider whether or not you only need the deed or, in most cases, an actual property title report, which is created by a professional researcher through a title search when needed. For more information regarding this subject watch the short video, Property Title vs. Property Deed.