Rights and control over property

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WHAT IS REAL OWNERSHIP?

Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. An ownership right is also referred to as title. The concept of ownership has existed for thousands of years and in all cultures. Over the millennia, however, and across cultures what is considered eligible to be property and how that property is regarded culturally is very different. Ownership is the basis for many other concepts that form the foundations of ancient and modern societies such as money, trade, debt, bankruptcy, the criminality of theft and private vs. public property. Ownership is the key building block in the development of the capitalist socio-economic system.

The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex since one can gain, transfer and lose ownership of property in a number of ways. To acquire property one can purchase it with money, trade it for other property, receive it as a gift, steal it, find it, make it or homestead it. One can transfer or lose ownership of property by selling it for money, exchanging it for other property, giving it as a gift, being robbed of it, misplacing it, or having it stripped from one's ownership through legal means such as eviction, foreclosure and seizure. Ownership is self-propagating in that the owner of any property will also own the economic benefits of that property.

WHAT IS TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP LAWS?

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Incidents of ownership is a legal term indicating a factor indicating legal title to property for federal estate tax purposes. For example, if a decedent possessed any incidents of ownership over property, the property would be included in his/her estate for federal estate tax purposes.

In examining an insurance policy, the term "incidents of ownership"' is not limited in its meaning to ownership of the policy in the technical legal sense. Generally speaking, the term has reference to the right of the insured or his estate to the economic benefits of the policy. Therefore, it includes the power to change the beneficiary, to surrender or cancel the policy, to assign the policy, to revoke an assignment, to pledge the policy for a loan, or to obtain from the insurer a loan against the surrender value of the policy, etc. Incidents of ownership are frequently described as rights to a life insurance policy's "economic benefits". Incidents of ownership can be major estate planning factors for policy owners who wish to transfer policy ownership from themselves to another person or a trust, thereby removing the policies from their estates.

How to transfer ownership laws???????????

When it comes to selling your house or a piece of land to another person, several questions may arise. The process of transferring land ownership is not all that difficult if done correctly the first time. However, the individual must ensure that he has all documents in order so he can quickly transfer land ownership. The process of transferring a piece of property includes yourself (the grantor), the buyer (the grantee), a notary public, and possibly an attorney.

  • Gather any and all necessary paperwork that you may have for the land. These include the Deed papers, which are the official documents that proves that you are the owner of the land or property, as well as any mortgage papers, which sets forth the loan agreement and how much is currently owed on the land.
  • Decide which type of deed you, the grantor, will be transferring to the other individual, the grantee. The main types of deeds can be classified as a Grant Deed, Warranty Deed, Quitclaim Deed, Tax Deed, or a Gift Deed. The Quitclaim and Grant deed are the two most common that individuals use. A Grant Deed conveys the message that the Grantor has not sold the property to anyone else and everything about the property has been disclosed. On the other hand, a Quitclaim Deed is more of a formality that one person might sign in the midst of a divorce to relinquish any claim one might have against a house or property.
  • Go to an attorney with the grantee and bring all the necessary paperwork. Your attorney will draw up the actual deed document. Most attorneys are registered as notary publics and can notarize the deed forms that you sign, but if the attorney is not registered as a notary, you must find one
  • Take the official Deed Document that your attorney prepared and schedule an appointment with a notary public. (A notary public can be found in banks or in local phone books.)
  • Bring yourself and the grantee with the actual Deed Document to your meeting with the notary public. The notary will witness your signature as well as the signature of the grantee.
  • Have the land ownership deed officially "recorded" in the county where the land resides by taking the deed to the County Recorder's Office and requesting that it be recorded. County Recorders' offices are oftentimes located near or inside a court house, and can be found in your local phone book.

What is a real estate ownership?

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A real estate contract is a contract for the purchase/sale, exchange, or other conveyance of real estate between parties. Real estate called leasehold estate is actually a rental of real property such as an apartment, and leases (rental contracts) cover such rentals since they typically do not result in recordable deeds. Freehold ("More permanent") conveyances of real estate are covered by real estate contracts, including conveying fee simple title, life estates, remainder estates, and freehold easements. Real estate contracts are typically bilateral contracts (i. e., agreed to by two parties) and should have the legal requirements specified by contract law in general and should also be in writing to be enforceable.

In writing:

In many countries, real estate contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. In the United States the Statute of Frauds require real estate contracts to be in writing to be enforceable. In South Africa, the Alienation of Land Act specifies that any agreement of sale of immovable property must be in writing.

Additionally, a real estate contract must:

  • Identify the parties: The full name of the parties must be on the contract. In a sales contract, the parties are the seller(s) and buyer(s) of the real estate, who are often called the principals to distinguish them from real estate agents, who are effectively their intermediaries and representatives in negotiation of the price. If there are any real estate agents brokering the sale, they are typically listed also as the real estate brokers/agents who would earn the commission from the sale.
  • Identify the real estate (property): At least the address, but preferably the legal description must be on the contract.
  • Identify the purchase price: The amount of the sales price or a reasonably ascertainable figure (an appraisal to be completed at a future date) must be on the contract.
  • Include signatures: A real estate contract must be entered into voluntarily (not by force), and must be signed by the parties, to be enforceable.
  • Have a legal purpose: The contract is void if it calls for illegal action.
  • Involve Competent parties: Mentally impaired, drugged persons, etc. cannot enter into a contract. Contracts in which at least one of the parties is a minor are voidable by the minor.
  • Reflect a meeting of the minds: Each side must be clear and agree as to the essential details, rights, and obligations of the contract.
  • Include Consideration: Consideration is something of value bargained for in exchange of the real estate. Money is the most common form of consideration, but other consideration of value, such as other property in exchange, or a promise to perform (i.e. a promise to pay) is also satisfactory.

Notarization by a notary public is normally not required for a real estate contract, but many recording offices require that a seller's or conveyor's signature on a deed be notarized to record the deed. The real estate contract is typically not recorded with the government, although statements or declarations of the price paid are commonly required to be submitted to the recorder's office.

Sometimes real estate contracts will provide for a lawyer review period of several days after the signing by the parties to check the provisions of the contract and counterpropose any that are unsuitable.

If there are any real estate brokers/agents brokering the sale, the buyer's agent will often fill in the blanks on a standard contract form for the buyer(s) and seller(s) to sign. The broker commonly gets such contract forms from a real estate association he/she belongs to. When both buyer and seller have agreed to the contract by signing it, the broker provides copies of the signed contract to the buyer and seller.

Offer and acceptance:

As may be the case with other contracts, real estate contracts may be formed by one party making an offer and another party accepting the offer. To be enforceable, the offers and acceptances must be in writing (Statute of Frauds, Common Law) and signed by the parties agreeing to the contract. Often, the party making the offer prepares a written real estate contract, signs it, and transmits it to the other party who would accept the offer by signing the contract. As with all other types of legal offers, the other party may accept the offer, reject it - in which case the offer is terminated, make a counteroffer - in which case the original offer is terminated, or not respond to the offer - in which case the offer terminates by the expiration date in it. Before the offer (or counteroffer) is accepted, the offering (or countering) party can withdraw it. A counteroffer may be countered with yet another offer, and a counteroffering process may go on indefinitely between the parties.

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To be enforceable, a real estate contract must possess original signatures by the parties and any alterations to the contract must be initialed by all the parties involved. If the original offer is marked up and initialed by the party receiving it, then signed, this is not an offer and acceptance but a counter-offer.

Deed specified:

A real estate contract typically does not convey or transfer ownership of real estate by itself. A different document called a deed is used to convey real estate. In a real estate contract, the type of deed to be used to convey the real estate may be specified, such as a warranty deed or a quitclaim deed. If a deed type is not specifically mentioned, "marketable title" may be specified, implying a warranty deed should be provided. Lenders will insist on a warranty deed. Any liens or other encumbrances on the title to the real estate should be mentioned up front in the real estate contract, so the presence of these deficiencies would not be a reason for voiding the contract at or before the closing. If the liens are not cleared before by the time of the closing, then the deed should specifically have an exception(s) listed for the lien(s) not cleared.

The buyer(s) signing the real estate contract are liable (legally responsible) for providing the promised consideration for the real estate, which is typically money in the amount of the purchase price. However, the details about the type of ownership may not be specified in the contract. Sometimes, signing buyer(s) may direct a lawyer preparing the deed separately what type of ownership to list on the deed and may decide to add a joint owner(s), such as a spouse, to the deed. For example, types of joint ownership (title) may include tenancy in common, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, or joint tenancy by the entireties. Another possibility is ownership in trust instead of direct ownership.

Contingencies:

Contingencies are conditions which must be met if a contract is to be performed.

Contingencies that suspend the contract until certain events occur are known as "suspensive conditions". Contingencies that cancel the contract if certain event occur are known as "resolutive conditions".

Most contracts of sale contain contingencies of some kind or another, because few people can afford to enter into a real estate purchase without them. But it is possible for a real estate contract not to have any contingencies.

Some types of contingencies which can appear in a real estate contract include:

  • Mortgage contingency - Performance of the contract (purchase of the real estate) is contingent upon or subject to the buyer getting a mortgage loan for the purchase. Usually such a contingency calls for a buyer to apply for a loan within a certain period of time after the contract is signed. Since most people who buy a house get a mortgage loan to finance their purchase, mortgage contingencies are one of the most common types of contingencies in real property contracts.
  • Inspection contingency - Purchase of the real estate is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection of the real property revealing no significant defects. Contingencies could also be made on the satisfactory repair of a certain item associated with the real estate.
  • Another sale contingency - Purchase or sale of the real estate is contingent on a successful sale or purchase of another piece of real estate. The successful sale of another house may be needed to finance the purchase of a new one.
  • Appraisal contingency - Purchase of the real estate is contingent upon the contract price being at or below a fair market value determined by an appraisal. Lenders will often not lend more than a certain percentage (fraction) of the appraised value, so such a contingency may be useful for a buyer.
  • 72-hour kick out contingency - Seller contingency, in which the seller accepts a contract from a buyer with a contingency (typically a home sale or rent contingency where the buyer conditions the sale on their ability to find a buyer or renter for their current property prior to settlement). The seller retains the right to sell the property to another party if he so chooses after giving the buyer 72 hours notices to remove their contingency. The buyer will then either remove their contingency and provide proof that they can consummate the sale or will release the seller from their contract and allow the seller to move forward with the new contract.

Date of closing and possession:

A typical real estate contract specifies a date by which the closing must occur. The closing is the event in which the money (or other consideration) for the real estate is paid for and title (ownership) of the real estate is conveyed from the seller(s) to the buyer(s). The conveyance is done by the seller(s) signing a deed for buyer(s) or their attorneys or other agents to record the transfer of ownership. Often other paperwork is necessary at the closing.

The date of the closing is normally also the date when possession of the real estate is transferred from the seller(s) to the buyer(s). However, the real estate contract can specify a different date when possession changes hands. Transfer of possession of a house, condominium, or building is usually accomplished by handing over the key(s) to it. The contract may have provisions in case the seller(s) hold over possession beyond the agreed date.

The contract can also specify which party pays for what closing cost(s). If the contract does not specify, then there are certain customary defaults depending on law, common law (judicial precedents), location, and other orders or agreements, regarding who pays for which closing costs.

Condition of property:

A real estate contract may specify in what condition of the property should be when conveying the title or transferring possession. For example, the contract may say that the property is sold as is, especially if demolition is intended. Alternatively there may be a representation or a warranty (guarantee) regarding the condition of the house, building, or some part of it such as affixed appliances, HVAC system, etc. Sometimes a separate disclosure form specified by a government entity is also used. The contract could also specify any personal property (non-real property) items which are to be included with the deal, such as washer and dryer which are normally detachable from the house. Utility meters, electrical wiring systems, fuse or circuit breaker boxes, plumbing, furnaces, water heaters, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and most central air conditioning systems are normally considered to be attached to a house or building and would normally be included with the real property by default.

Riders:

Riders (or addenda) are special attachments (separate sheets) that become part of the contract in certain situations.

Earnest money deposit:

Although, it is not absolutely required for a valid real estate offer or a contract, an earnest money deposit from the buyer(s) customarily accompanies an offer to buy real estate. The amount, a small fraction of the total price, is listed in the contract, with the remainder of the cost to be paid at the closing.

Financial qualifications of buyer(s):

The better the financial qualification of the buyer(s) is, the more likely the closing will be successfully completed, which is typically the goal of the seller. Any documentation demonstrating financial qualifications of the buyer(s), such as mortgage loan pre-approval or pre-qualification, may accompany a real estate offer to buy along with an earnest money check. When there are competing offers or when a lower offer is presented, the seller may be more likely to accept an offer from a buyer demonstrating evidence of being well qualified than from a buyer without such evidence.