The Home Category The Home: family money matters

Adding a name to a property deed

Homeowners who make a monthly mortgage payment do not actually own their home--a bank or mortgage lender does. With that in mind, a person looking to change the name on a property deed should start with the lending bank to find out its particular policy.

Every mortgage in America is written with a clause that requires full payment of the outstanding mortgage when the name on the deed is changed. This is to protect the bank and insure repayment of the loan at the home's sale. It also prevents a mortgage holder from adding an individual with a low credit score to the loan, thus creating a credit risk.

Consult the Title Company that Holds the Deed

Property deeds are recorded by county or parish company, but are held and insured by a title company. When the buyer closed on his or her house, the title was presented to them and promptly returned for filing with the county and storage with the title company. The buyer should find the title company and inquire about the fees involved. The fees will include the company's research and insurance costs, the filing fee from the clerk and any applicable local and state taxes.

Contact a Real Estate Legal Professional

If done incorrectly, changing the name on a house or property deed can call into question the person who owns the property.

In the long run, this could cause issues with taxes, transfers and even probate.

Use a lawyer or paralegal specialising in real estate law to facilitate the transfer. While this raises the costs of the process, it significantly lowers the risk and chance of error.