WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Local attorney Keith Caughlin of the Schwerzmann & Wise law firm appeared on 7 News at Noon on Monday to talk about a couple of common real estate terms: deeds and abstracts.
Many home owners and land owners think about these documents twice when they buy and then, years later, when they sell their property.
Watch Caughlin's interview above.
Deeds are written instruments signed by the grantor to convey land described in that deed.
When delivered, the land is transferred from one person to the other. While it is official as long as the deed is signed, notarized and delivered, as between the grantor and grantee, until the deed is recorded in the county clerk's Office, the rest of the world does not know about the transfer.
Many times you will see property transfers in the newspaper or on the internet, these are the most recently recorded deeds - public documents - that show the transfer of real estate. The sales price is listed because there has to be a form filed that shows the transfer price - that determines a tax the grantor has to pay for the privilege of conveying property.
It is important to keep your original deed but the legally significant version is the scanned copy recorded in the clerk's office. It is always available and can be printed for you by one of the clerks or a title abstract company.
An abstract of title is a collection of the transfers of a specific piece of real estate over time. Abstracts around the north country usually go back quite a long time. The minimum required in a purchase contract is 40 years, but many go much longer than that.
The Abstract is usually 8.5 x 14 inches and has a paper backer. Your seller, or grantor, has to "bring it current" to show there are no judgment liens, taxes due or unpaid mortgages. This one of the seller closing costs and shows title is clean. The buyer, grantee, needs to keep track of the abstract because it is expensive to replace at the time in the future when the property is transferred.
Many people take out a mortgage to buy property, your new mortgage is recorded and shown in your abstract of title. When you pay off the mortgage the bank has to prepare a discharge of mortgage to record in the clerk’s office. This shows their interest is discharged, that is your loan is paid off. Be sure to follow up and get your discharge from the lender and make sure it is recorded.