Real Estate Alphabet Soup: D is for Deed


In my last post, “Real Estate Alphabet Soup: C is for Contract” I continued my primer on the “alphabet soup” of real estate. This post continues to stir the “alphabet soup” with the letter “D.”

D is for “deed.” As part of any agreement for the transfer of real estate there must be a deed from the grantor (the owner or seller) conveying to the grantee (the buyer or recipient) all of the grantor’s right, title and interest in the real estate. The grantor’s interest may be for all, or a portion, of the property. And the conveyance may also be for all, or a portion, of the property, if there are multiple parcels of record which can be separately conveyed. For a deed to be valid it must contain a valid legal description of the property, and it must state the consideration, if any, to be paid for the property. In order to confirm the conveyance and title to the property in the grantee, the executed deed must be recorded in the public land records of the county in which the property is located.

“D” is also for “deed of trust.” The deed of trust is a transfer from the trustor to the trustee, for the purpose of placing the legal title to the property with the trustee as security for performance of an obligation. Similar to a mortgage, a deed of trust is often used to secure a lender’s interest in the property through the lender’s appointed trustees and, once the debt is repaid in full, the trustees then release the lien and their interest in the property. In order to secure the interest in the property and put others on notice of the lien against the property, the executed deed of trust must be recorded in the public land records of the county in which the property is located.

D is also for a “declaration” generally in the form of covenants related to the property, or a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, which bind the present and future owners of the property to do, or not to do, a particular thing related to the property, and to bind oneself and future owners of the property to those restrictions and obligations. Covenants may also include declarations made by the property owner restricting certain uses of the property or placing certain obligations upon the current owner and future owners of the property, such as restrictions on the use of the property, and obligations for the maintenance and payment of the costs for the maintenance of the property. And, just like with a deed and a deed of trust, in order to put current and future owners on notice, the declaration must be recorded in the public land records of the county in which the property is located.

So, in reiterating the recording requirement, “D” should also be for “don’t” forget to record the “document”!

In my next post, I will move on to the letter “E”, the next letter in this real estate “alphabet soup.”

This blog was written by Anne-Herbert Rollins at Miles & Stockbridge.

Opinions and conclusions in this post are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. Any federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written by the author to be used, and cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding penalties which may be imposed on the recipient by the IRS. Please contact the author if you would like to receive written advice in a format which complies with IRS rules and may be relied upon to avoid penalties.