What is the difference between a warranty deed and a quit claim deed?
In Washington, deeds are defined by statute, and not all deeds are equal. A warranty deed includes warranties that the grantor owns all the rights to the property, has the power to convey it, that the property is free from encumbrances, and that the grantee’s title and right to possession will not be challenged. If title or possession is challenged, the grantor will defend the grantee’s title. A quit claim deed contains no similar promises or warranties. However, either type of deed effectively transfers title to the real estate.
If my spouse dies, do I need to do something to change the title to our home or other real property?
Yes, you do need to take some action to let the entire world know that you now own the property as a single person. That can be done by either probating a Will, recording a Community Property Agreement, or by administering the estate of your deceased spouse in a legal proceeding.
I am buying a piece of property from my neighbor who I have known for many years. Should I get a policy of title insurance when I close the sale?
Yes, it is always advisable to order a commitment for title insurance and carefully examine the commitment prior to closing the purchase. On closing you should purchase an owner’s policy of title insurance to ensure that there are no judgments, tax liens, or other encumbrances on the property.
Do both spouses need to sign a real estate purchase and sale agreement to buy or sell real estate?
In almost all cases in Washington, both a husband and wife must sign any agreement to list, buy, or sell real estate, and both must also sign the deed to the property on closing. Exceptions exist for property owned by only one of the spouses.
In a deed granting a life estate, who is the owner?
The grantee, or the one receiving the property described in the deed, is the owner of the property during his or her life. At that person’s death, the property is owned by whoever was to receive the remainder interest under the deed.
Do I need to possess a title, deed, or some legal document to show I own my house?
No, not generally. Deeds to real property are usually recorded as part of the escrow closing. Once recorded with the county auditor, the original deed has no legal significance. Title will be determined by the records in the county auditor’s office.
What is the difference between “tenants in common” and “joint tenants”?
When people own property as joint tenants, it is presumed they each own an equal share. Upon the death of the first of them to die, the survivor gets title to 100% of the property. On the death of a tenant in common, however, that co-owner’s interest in the property would go to his or her heirs or as directed in that person’s Will.
My neighbor tore down a fence between our properties and is now building a new fence three feet closer to my house. Can I do anything to stop this?
If you object to the relocation of the fence, you should contact a real estate attorney immediately. Legal remedies may be available to restrain the relocation of the fence and have the property boundary restored to its former location.
What is the difference between a judicial and non-judicial foreclosure?
In Washington most loans on real estate are secured by a Deed of Trust. A Deed of Trust may be foreclosed by the holder of the debt in an out of court process by providing notice to the property owner and the public of a sale date and selling the property at a public auction. The holder of the debt also has the option of filing a lawsuit to collect on the note, obtaining a judgment against the borrower, and after obtaining a judgment, asking the Sheriff to sell the property to apply to the judgment. In addition to, or instead of selling the property, the debt holder can take any other collection measures such as garnishment of wages or bank accounts to collect the debt.
How many years can my real property taxes go unpaid until I will be in jeopardy of losing the property?
In Washington, if real estate taxes go unpaid for three years, the county treasurer may file a lawsuit to have the property sold at a public auction.
What is a “lease to own” transaction?
In Washington, “lease to own” is accomplished when a buyer first becomes a tenant under a written lease that includes as one of its terms an option to purchase the property at some time in the future on specified terms. The lease and option must be drawn carefully and precisely for these transactions to be enforceable and successful.