Owning a house is all good but if for some reason you can’t prove that it is yours, you may be in big trouble. In order to prevent such an occurrence, you need to ensure that you have a copy of the deed for your house.

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What is a deed?

A deed is a document showing that you are the legal owner of a property. It is a piece of paperwork that carries quite a bit of clout so you should ensure that it is properly recorded once you have claimed the keys to your new home.

According to First Documents deeds are recorded in the relevant government offices by homeowners, usually between two weeks and three months after closing the sale of the property. However, upon submitting your deed to be recorded, you should take care not to just forget it. Title agents may make mistakes, lose your deed or even close down, thereby rendering your deed non-existent. In fact, even county offices may err in recording your deed and cause you problems in the long run. Therefore, you should follow up after submission, just to make sure your deed is properly recorded.

Many people may not think the deed is that important and do not ensure that it is properly recorded. You do not want to make such a mistake. Here are 4 reasons why you need a copy of your home deed:

  1. It is required by law: Recording statutes, which vary by state, are laws which govern the ownership of property. Essentially, they help to recognize the name of the last purchaser or transferee on the deed of record. That individual is officially the owner of the property in question. So, if your name is not the last one on the deed, then you don’t legally own the house.
  2. You would not be able to sell your house or refinance the mortgage: Without proof that you legally own the land and house where you live, you would not be able to sell it in the future. It would also be difficult, if at all possible, for you to refinance your mortgage or even take out a line of credit against your home, as the deed is what many lending institutions use to determine if you own your home.
  3. It is possible for you to be charged for the previous owner’s debt. If the previous owner has a debt and their name is still the last name recorded on the deed, he or she can use the house to pay off liens, with or without your knowledge.
  4. The seller can take out another mortgage or line of credit behind your back: That’s right. This may sound highly unscrupulous but we do live in a dangerous world. A dishonest seller, knowing that your deed has not been properly recorded, can apply for a mortgage refinance if you’ve already finished paying for the house or even take out a line of credit. Even worse, the seller can resell the property without your knowledge because your name is not on the deed, leaving you without the home that you paid for using your hard-earned money.

As you can see, getting your hands on a copy of the deed for your home is very important. Therefore, if you own property, you ought to ensure that you have your deed properly recorded and that you have a copy of it.