Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 7:15 am | Fair 49º


Elaine Abercrombie: Finalizing the Sale with a Good Deed

The document represents the buyer's proof of ownership

Elaine Abercrombie
Elaine Abercrombie (Roe Anne White photo)

Whether buying or selling real estate, you will eventually come face to face with the one document that transfers the title from seller to buyer — the “deed.” The actual transfer of ownership takes place when the deed has been “signed, sealed and delivered” to the purchaser.

Historically, under English common law, the transfer of real estate took place in a ceremony called “livery of seizin.” The owner would meet the purchaser on the land and hand over a twig or clod of dirt. Although a written statement of the sale followed, it was the ceremony that signified that a sale had taken place.

Today it is the written document — the deed — that marks the conclusion of the sale.

To be valid, a deed must be in writing and name both the grantor(s) and grantee(s). It is signed only by the grantor(s), however. Such deeds should be drafted by an attorney.

A good deed also contains a “legal description” of the property being conveyed. The property must be described so as to leave no doubt about exactly what real estate is being transferred.

Finally, a deed must be signed, sealed and delivered. The transaction is not consummated until the signed, sealed deed is conveyed to the buyer.

This important document should be registered, and then kept in a safe place. It is the buyer’s sole proof of ownership, so it should be well protected!

Elaine Abercrombie, a broker with Abercrombie Fine Homes, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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