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Buyer's Guide - Common Forms of Real Property Ownership

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Common Forms of Real Property Ownership

 

There are various ways in which a property owner can own real property.  This is also known as "how to hold title" to real property.  The three most common forms of real property ownership are TENANCY IN COMMON, JOINT TENANCY, and COMMUNITY PROPERTY.  There are similarities between the three forms of ownership, but there are some unique differences as well. 

As a Home Buyer, you will be asked by the Title Company handling the escrow for your home purchase exactly how you wish to hold title to your new home.  A review of this page will give you only an idea of the three forms of ownership.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is provided for informational purposes only.  Specific questions for actual real property transactions should be directed to your attorney or C.P.A.

 

 

TENANCY IN COMMON

JOINT TENANCY

COMMUNITY PROPERTY

Parties

Any number of persons
(can be husband and wife)

Any number of persons
(can be husband and wife)

Only husband and wife

Division

Ownership can be divided into any number of interests,
equal or unequal

Ownership interests cannot be divided

Ownership interests are equal

Title

Each co-owner has a separate legal title to his undivided interests

There is only one title to the whole property

Title is in the "community" (Similar to title being in a partnership)

Possession

Equal right of possession

Equal right of possession

Equal right of possession

Conveyance

Each co-owner's interests may be conveyed separately
by its owner

Conveyance by one co-owner without the others breaks the
joint tenancy

Both co-owners must join in conveyance of real property.
Separate interests cannot be conveyed

Purchaser's Status

Purchaser becomes a tenant in common with the other co-owners

Purchaser can only acquire whole title of community; cannot acquire a part of it

 

Death

On co-owner's death, his interest passes by will to his devisees or heirs. No survivorship right

On co-owner's death, his interest ends and cannot be willed. Survivor owns the property by survivorship

On co-owner's death, 1/2 goes to survivor in severalty. Up to 1/2 goes by will or
succession to others (consult attorney with specific questions)

Successor's
Status

Devisees or heirs become tenants in common

Last survivor owns property in severalty

If passing by will, tenancy in common between devisee
and survivor results

Creditors

Co-owner's interest
may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor.
Creditor becomes a tenant in common

Co-owner's interest may be sold on execution sale to satisfy his creditor.
Joint tenancy is broken, creditor becomes a tenant in common

Co-owner's interests cannot be seized and sold separately. The whole property may be
sold to satisfy debts of either husband or wife, depending on the debt (consult attorney with specific questions)

Presumption

Favored in doubtful cases except husband and wife (see Community Property)

Must be expressly stated and properly formed. Not favored

Strong presumption that property acquired by husband and wife is community

This is provided for informational purposes only.
Specific questions for actual real property transactions should be directed to your attorney or C.P.A.

 

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