Property Rights: Avoid Landslides and Subsidence
Property Law: Amending Covenants
Acquire Easements by Prescription

Transfer Property Rights to Another

One of the basic property rights of ownership is the right to transfer your rights to other people. An owner can give away just some of her rights but remain the owner, such as by giving someone an easement to use her property. An owner also can transfer her entire ownership — the basic rights to possess, use, and exclude. Following are some ways she can transfer her property rights:

  • Deed: An owner can transfer her ownership by delivering a valid deed to a grantee.

  • Will: An owner can transfer her ownership at her death by a will.

  • Mortgage: In some states, a mortgage is treated as a conveyance of legal title to the mortgagee; in others, it’s merely a lien, the legal right to sell the property to satisfy an unpaid debt. In either case, if the mortgagor defaults on the debt that the mortgage secures, the mortgagee can foreclose, hold an auction sale, and have the legal title transferred to the high bidder.

When an owner transfers property to another person, the new owner wants to be sure that the world knows she now owns the property. She does that by recording her interest with the county clerk or other public officer who maintains records related to real property. If she doesn’t, state recording statutes may allow someone else who buys the property without knowing about her interest to become the owner instead.

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