As we’ve noted in previous posts, in real estate transactions, understanding “title” is very important.
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at what “color of title” is and why it is necessary to understand it.
Title to Property
Before we dive into the concept of “color of title,” however, let’s review what title means in real property transactions.
In real estate law, “title” refers to the property ownership rights a person has in real property. The manner in which you hold title to a piece of property defines your legal ownership and legal right(s) to use that property.
State law determines the different ways in which a person can hold title to property.
In Georgia, the following common methods of holding and owning title to real property are allowed:
- Individual name or sole ownership
- Joint tenants (with or without right of survivorship)
- Tenants in common
Don’t Confuse Title with a Deed
Many people confuse the concept of “title” in real estate with deeds.
Briefly, “title” refers to the legal concept of property ownership—in other words, the bundle of rights of ownership and possession.
A deed, on the other hand, is the legal document (instrument) that conveys title from one person to another.
Color of Title
In Georgia, a person who is not the title owner of real property can gain title to the property through adverse possession (also called “squatter’s rights”) if he meets the legal requirements for occupying the land, or if he meets the requirements under “color of title.”
“Color of title” is a legal principle that arises when a person has a legal, but defective, claim to property.
For example, if a person has a deed to the property but the deed has a significant defect that makes it invalid, the person may have a claim to the property under “color of title.”
In other words, the person may have “apparent title” to the property, but because of the defect in the title, his title would not be valid. Thus, he can be said to claim title to the property under “color of title.”
Because he does not have true title to the property, a person claiming ownership only under “color of title” cannot convey the property.
Title and title claims are an important part of real estate transactions. Which is why you should always consult with experienced real property counsel.
Our Experience is Your Advantage.
At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., our clients benefit from our experience. We have extensive experience in real estate law. We have offices in Cumming, and we serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To find out what we can do for you, call us today at: 770-888-7707. Or you can e-mail us with inquiries at: firstname.lastname@example.org