One of the decisions you will have to make once you have an accepted offer on a home is how you would like to hold title to that property. ?There?s a variety of ways to do so, but the key factor is who you will be holding title with (if anyone).

Holding Title may be an unfamiliar term, but it essentially means is who owns the home and what rights they have. ?Here are the basics, of course, we are not attorneys and each situation may be different, so check with a qualified professional (attorney/cpa) to determine the situation that is best for you.

If you plan to own the home:

By Yourself: You?ll likely own the home in Severalty which is used when a single individual or entity owns a parcel of real estate.

  • With your Spouse: You?ll likely own the home as Tenants by the Entirety. ?This is a type of Joint Tenancy (see below) that is reserved for a married couple or reciprocal beneficiaries. ?There are a couple of important benefits to this type of title vesting:
    • Rights of Survivorship – If one of the owners passes away, the other automatically recieves the title.
    • Certain legal protection – Certain claims by creditors of one of the owners may not be able to be enforced on the property due to its effect on the other homeowner. ?Of course, this is complicated law, so consult an attorney if you have detailed questions.
    • Ownership is not represented as a percent of the whole, i.e. husband and wife aren?t 50/50 owners, each has an undivided interest in the whole and no property transactions can take place without the consent of both parties.
  • With Family: You may want to own the home as Joint Tenancy. ?This is almost exactly the same as Tenants by the Entirety above in the sense that it has the three characteristics defined above. ?This can only apply to individuals (more than 2 is ok) and can?t be used for Trusts, companies or any other non human entity.
  • With Someone Else or an Entity: You?ll likely own the home as Tenants in Common.
    • With this type of ownership, the percentage interest IS defined.
    • Individual portions can be conveyed without the others? consent.
    • There are equal rights of possession meaning a 1% owner has the same right to occupy the property as a 99% owner; however proceeds from sale would be split according to the ownership percentages.
    • There is no right of survivorship, so if one owner passes, that portion passes on to the deceased owner?s heirs and not to the other owners.

Of course, there are other types of ownership as well, such as trusts, life estates and types of corporate ownership. ?It?s best to consult a true expert for advice and a comprehensive financial plan with any of those options.