Question: I am selling my home and the closing attorney charges $225 to draft a deed. I have my original recorded deed. Do I need to pay the closing attorney for a new one? If so, can I draft one myself?
Answer: Don’t confuse the deed for your property with a certificate of title to an automobile, the original of which gets physically transferred with each sale. A new deed must be drafted each time you sell your property. The original is then recorded with the registry of deeds.
This may seem like a simple process, but given the potential risks involved, do-it yourself legal practice is never a good idea. The following discussion of a deed’s anatomy will illustrate the complexity of the drafting process. Each of a deed’s five primary parts presents opportunity for error and legal liability if not drafted with precision. Remember, your $225 is not just buying a typed piece of paper, it will obtain proper review by an attorney and shelter you from potentially costly liability for drafting errors:
1) The granting clause defines the buyers and sellers, the price, and the manner in which the buyers take title to the property. Proper language is important to define the relationship of multiple buyers in the event one of them dies. Buyers can take title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or as tenants in common resulting in the passage of a deceased owner’s interest to his or her estate.
2) The legal description of the property must accurately portray the amount of land being sold and its boundary lines by either referring to a recorded plan or describing the lot lines in full detail.
3) Commonly referred to as title text, a deed may contain special clauses restricting the use of the property or referring to easements thereupon.
4) The title reference establishes the chain of ownership by referring to the previously recorded deed.
5) Finally, though it may seem simple, the signature lines and notary clause create many problems for landowners if not properly executed.
Attorney James Haroutunian runs the Haroutunian Law Office at 790 Boston Road specializing in real estate law. James invites questions from local real estate agents as well as consumers.