Glossary

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Title
A title is a document that proves legal ownership of a piece of real property. When buyers sign a contract to purchase real property, they are given what is called "equitable title." This gives them the right to obtain full ownership of the property. The home builder, developer, seller or other party still retains legal title, which is actual property ownership. Once all the terms of the seller's contract have been met, the legal title transfers to the buyer in the closing. The highest form of title is called "paramount title." This gives the owner in a fee-simple, which is the highest form of ownership of land and its immovable structures, the right to quiet title. Quieting title is generally a legal proceeding to settle with missing heirs, tenants, lien holders and other people in a title-dispute lawsuit for real property. Each state has different requirements and procedures for quieting title.