Understanding Real Estate Title Transfers in Florida

Understanding Real Estate Title Transfers in Florida

If you are considering purchasing real estate in Florida, you have likely come across the term “title transfer” before. Buying a home is a long and involved process, so transferring the title may not strike you as particularly noteworthy. However, it is the most critical element of any property transaction. 

Therefore, it is critical to ensure that the title is transferred correctly. If you are managing your purchase without the assistance of a real estate agent, finding a firm to handle the transfer is of paramount importance. Below, we discuss what real estate titles are, why they matter, and how working with the right firm can ensure that your title is managed effectively.

What Is a Real Estate Title?

A title is a legal document that declares the owner of a specific item of real property. Tangible assets, such as homes and vehicles, do not have the same fundamental clarity of ownership offered by bank and investment accounts. This document is necessary to clearly identify the owner and reduce the risk of disputes. 

The party named on the deed has legal rights to the property, such as:

  • The right to access the property
  • The right to enjoy, use, and alter the property within local laws
  • The right to sell or transfer their ownership of the property to others

Without the document, it is significantly harder to prove ownership over a specific piece of real estate. This can lead to legal disputes regarding the possession and may result in extensive legal action as parties pursue legally recognized ownership of the location.

Types of Property Titles

There are four types of titles used for real estate, depending on whether ownership is shared. These are:

  • Fee Simple Absolute: This is the simplest form of ownership, but it is not the most common. Fee simple absolute refers to when one party owns a property in full, with no divisions. This may occur if a single person purchases a home on their own.
  • Tenancy in the Entirety: More common are tenancy in the entirety titles, where spouses purchase a home as a unit. In this case, the spouses both have full rights to use the property but may not sell it without the other’s consent.
  • Tenancy in Common: If a property has multiple owners who are not married to each other, the title may be a tenancy in common. In this case, it grants each tenant the right to a specific fraction of the property’s value while permitting them to use the entire site. For example, if two friends purchase a vacation home together, they could use tenancy in common titles to split ownership of the property according to how much they each paid for it while granting both the right to access it. 
  • Joint Tenancy: Finally, unmarried co-owners may receive joint tenancy titles. This grants all owners undivided property rights and the right to survivorship. This passes ownership of the property from a deceased owner to the surviving owners without the need for probate

Each of these titles can be transferred to others, but the specific regulations and processes vary. A title company that works with experienced real estate attorneys will ensure that the transfer is done correctly.

How Titles Are Transferred in Florida

Transferring titles transfers ownership of a piece of real estate from one party to another. Until the transfer is complete, it remains the legal property of the parties named on the previous title. For that reason, the transfer must be performed carefully and correctly. Delays or errors can confuse ownership of a significant investment. 

In Florida, transfers are typically performed through title companies. These companies work closely with real estate attorneys to ensure that the sale is closed correctly and the transfer is made official. The process typically follows this structure:

  • Developing a Title Report: Home sellers may work with a Florida title transfer firm to produce a report outlining any issues with a title. The firm has real estate attorneys and experts perform a search of public databases to judge whether it’s likely the title has any problems, such as liens, unpaid taxes, or delinquent homeowners’ association fees. This allows the buyer to resolve the holds before the home goes up for sale.
  • Performing Title Search: Once an offer is made on the house, the firm will perform a complete title search. This is significantly more comprehensive and frequently covers up to 50 years of the property’s history to determine any issues that may delay or prevent the sale from being finalized. 
  • Clearing the Title: If a lien or unpaid taxes are discovered, the title company and its expert real estate attorneys will assist the buyer and seller with clearing it. This includes paying any fees associated with it and filing the necessary paperwork to demonstrate that it is clear.
  • Purchasing Title Insurance: Even the most comprehensive search may miss something. The firm will offer home title insurance to cover the cost of resolving any potential mistakes or undiscovered issues. Purchasing this insurance is often required by mortgage providers.
  • Drafting and Filing the Deed: Once the title is confirmed to be clear and insurance has been purchased, the company’s experts will draft and file the deed, finalizing the sale of the property. 

Efficient and Professional Title Transfer Services in Florida

Transferring titles is crucial to finalizing the sale of any type of real estate. For that reason, it is essential that you work with title companies that are prepared to manage the process efficiently and accurately. 

At Isriel Ponzoli, Attorneys at Law, P.A., our associates are dedicated to assisting home buyers, real estate agents, mortgage providers, and title companies in Miami-Dade County and Broward with closing services and title insurance matters. Learn more about our bespoke title services by calling our Miami real estate law office at (305) 577-4800 or emailing us today.