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What is a Title?

What is a Title?  In the Province of Alberta a title is a document kept at the Alberta Land Titles department.  It stipulates the party or parties that own a specific property and therefore have the right to sell said property.   It tells you the date the property was registered and is accompanied by a registration number. A title also stipulates the municipal address of the property as well as the legal address usually noted as Lot, Plan, and Block for urban properties.

Title also shows any registered instruments on the property.  These might include covenants and caveats with the property and these will flow with the Title from owner to owner.  A covenant might be something such as a restriction on what type of shingles can be used within a certain neighborhood.  A caveat might include a water line on your property in which the city may require access, for example. 

We also find other registered instruments here such as any mortgages on the property, a party claiming an interest in the property (a lien), or something called a Lis Pendens (Latin for litigation pending).  A contractual obligation of the purchase contract is that the seller must provide the buyer with free and clear Title.  Mortgages are generally not an issue if there is enough money from the sale to settle the mortgage, but I do have concern when I see a lien or a Lis Pendens on Title. 

A prudent Realtor will investigate Title regardless of whether they work for the seller or the buyer.  This way problems can be rectified before it impedes a sale!  Thanks for reading!

By Patrick Murray