Acquiring Real Estate Properties

Acquiring Real Estate Properties

The purchase (sale) of a property is the usual way of obtaining real estate properties.  However there are other methods one can acquire or transfer real estate.

These other methods are:

1.  By Deed:  All deeds must have a “granting” clause in order for an act to transfer a property. 

  • Grant deeds transfer title, again with the action word being “grant”.
  • Quitclaim deeds convey all the present rights or interest that a person may have in a property.  A quitclaim deed gives absolute ownership or only such titles as one may hold.

Subsets of a grant or quitclaim deeds are:

  • gift deed:  given as a gift; no other consideration is necessary but can be revoked if done to defraud creditors.
  • tax deed:  given if property is sold as payment for past due taxes.
  • administrator’s deed:  given to the purchaser of the deceased person’s real property.
  • sheriff’s deed:  granted to the purchaser of a court ordered sale.
  • trustee’s deed:  given to the purchaser of property at a trust deed foreclosure sale.
  • guardian’s deed:  used by a guardian to transfer the real property of minors or incompetents.
  • land patent:  used by the government to grant public land to an individual.

2.  By Transfer via Will:  this written document outlines how a person’s is to be conveyed or distributed upon their death.

  • The will can be witnessed (typed) is generally prepared by an attorney, dated, signed by the property owner and declared to be a will by at least two witnesses
  • A holographic will is entirely handwritten by the owner, dated and signed.  

3.  By Probate Transfer:  is a superior court procedure to determine a will’s validity, any creditors’ claims and establish the identity of the beneficiaries. 

4.  By “No Will” Transfer:  this procedure can be complex.  If no heirs the property goes to the state.  If descendant leaves a wife and child the property is divided 50/50; if there is a surviving spouse and two or more children 1/3 of the property goes to the spouse and 2/3 goes to the children.  If no surviving spouse the property is divided equally amongst the children.

5.  By Accession:  This occurs when there is an addition to the property by natural cause.  For example:  If one lives near a stream or river (waterway) and over the years there is an accumulation or addition to the land, this accumulation becomes real property of the landowner who holds title to the river bank.

6.  By Occupancy:  this occurs through abandonment; adverse possession or prescription (by use).

  • Abandonment is the relinquishing of a right or interest with the intention of never again reclaiming it.  Court action is required to gain title.
  • Adverse possession:  title is acquired to another’s property through continuous and notorious occupancy under a claim of title.  Courts require substantial proof before a title insurance company can insure a property with a clear title.  This is often called a “quiet title” action.
  • Prescription:  is an easement, or the right to use another’s land, which can be obtained through five years of continuous use.  Prescription is the “use” of a property, not a title.

7.  By Dedication:  is a gift of land, by its owner, for some public use.  To be fully dedicated the land must be accepted by the authorized public officials.

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