Ways to take title ownership

Real-Estate Watch


Title is a word often heard among realtors and escrow officers. Buyers will need to answer an important question when purchasing a home: how do you want to take title? Title confirms evidence of ownership and how the owner is to receive lawful possession of the property. There are several forms of ownership that can be utilized and selected in California when purchasing a home or property. Here is a simple breakdown of each one.

Tenancy in Common. This is most commonly selected when a number of parties are involved. The ownership can be divided into any amount of interest. Each owner has separate legal title to their own interest and may convey title separately. Each member has equal rights of possession. Upon death, ownership passes by will to devisees.

Joint Tenancy. This can also involve a number of parties but there cannot be a divided interest. There are equal rights of possession, and conveyance of title breaks joint tenancy status. Upon death of one member, the interest ends and cannot be willed. The survivor owns the property by right of survivorship. However, that survivorship must be expressly stated and properly formed.

Community Property. This type of ownership can only be taken by husband and wife. Interests in the property are co-equal. Both co-owners must join in conveyance; separate interests cannot be conveyed. Upon death, half goes to the survivor and half may be passed on by a will or succession to others. There is a strong presumption of ownership by husband and wife.

Right of Survivorship. This has been the most common way a husband and wife take ownership in California after July 1, 2001. Interest in the home is co-equal. Both spouses must join in conveyance, and separate interests cannot be conveyed. There are also equal rights of possession. Upon death, the surviving spouse automatically owns the property free and clear by right of survivorship. There is a strong presumption of ownership by husband and wife.

Realtors cannot legally advise clients on how to take ownership of a home or property with any of the above methods. But they can give clients information in order for buyers to make their own informed decisions.

During a home purchase process, an escrow package will be signed by buyers. At that time a form will ask buyers how they want to take title or ownership of the home. Knowing these terms above will assist in that important choice.

Need more info on this subject? I offer a one-hour free consultation time at my office to go over the entire purchasing process. Give me a call at 760-382-1082, and let’s talk!


To date there are 119 homes on the market ranging from $45,000 to $589,900.

The past three months’ price-per-square-foot averages of sold single-family homes are College Heights $163, NW $131, NE $133, SE $120, SW $134 and RC Heights $132.


The California median home price is $605,860, with the lowest median home prices Lassen $180,000 and Ridgecrest $218,250. The highest median home price by region isSan Francisco at $1,540,000. (Source C.A.R)

Story First Published: 2019-11-22