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Forms of Real Estate Ownership

What is sole ownership relating to ownership in real estate?

What is a Tenants in Common form of real estate ownership?

What is a Joint Tenants form of ownership in real estate?

What is a Tenants by the Entirety form of real estate ownership?

What is a Trust?

What is a condominium?

What is a quitclaim deed?

What is a warranty deed?

What is the purpose of "recording" a deed?





Q: What is sole ownership relating to ownership in real estate?

Sole ownership in the state of Rhode Island is the form of real estate ownership in which a real property is owned entirely and solely by one person.  


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Q: What is a Tenants in Common form of real estate ownership?

Tenants in Common is a form of co-ownership of property in which  the real property is owned by two or more persons at the same time. The proportionate interests and right to possess the property between the tenants in common need not be equal. Upon death, the decedent's interest passes to his heirs named in the will who then become new tenants in common with the other tenants in common.  


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Q: What is a Joint Tenants form of ownership in real estate?

Joint Tenants (with Rights of Survivorship) or Joint Tenancy is a form of co-ownership of real property in which property is owned by two or more persons at the same time in equal shares. Each joint owner has an undivided right to possess the whole property and a proportionate right of equal ownership interest. When one joint tenant dies, his/her interest automatically passes on to the surviving joint tenant(s).  


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Q: What is a Tenants by the Entirety form of real estate ownership?

This is a special form of joint tenancy when the joint tenants are husband and wife (each owning one-half). Neither spouse can sell the property without the consent of the other.  


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Q: What is a Trust?

A trust is not technically a form of ownership. However, you may own real property through your Living Trust. Upon your passing, your interest would pass to successor trustees and/or beneficiaries you have designated in your trust.


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Q: What is a condominium?

A condominium is a form of ownership in which unit owners legally own a particular unit in a multiple unit structure of a building.  The condo unit owner has a share and a right to use common areas such as hallways, elevators, gardens, swimming pools, and clubhouse within that structure.  You pay monthly payments to an "association" for maintenance expenses for the common areas.  The association is typically run like a corporation with complaint and appeal processes to protect individual rights of owners and to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes within the community. 


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Q: What is a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed transfers or "releases" to the person acquiring the property whatever present interest the grantor has in the property. Unlike a grant deed, a quitclaim deed carries with it no express or implied covenants or guarantees. Therefore, if the grantor has no interest in the property, a quitclaim deed conveys nothing.


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Q: What is a warranty deed?

A warranty deed is used to convey an interest in real estate.  The warranty deed guarantees that the title conveyed is good and its transfer rightful.  A warranty deed includes a promise by the person making it (i.e. the Grantor/Seller) that he/she will defend the Grantee (the person getting the property) from any and all claims of others.


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Q: What is the purpose of "recording" a deed?

A deed is the device that transfers the ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.  The deed gives the buyer formal ownership rights in exchange usually for a specified amount of money.  The transfer of interest in real property is not complete until the deed is delivered to you.  The deed should be recorded immediately in the city or town where the property is located.  By recording the deed, you give notice to all future potential buyers of that property that you now have an ownership interest in that particular piece of real property.  Recording also tracks the chronological chain of ownership from a series of buyers and sellers.


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