How to Change the Title on a House


A title is a legal document stating ownership of real property. The title further lists any encumbrances on a property that would prevent it being sold to a prospective owner. Anyone buying or selling a house encounters the meaning of a title when hiring professional searchers to declare the title in order. Changing the name on a house title may also be necessary in case of death or an inheritance. Rules governing name-changes on a title are regulated by state laws and may differ from one state to another.

Things You'll Need

  • Contact information for title regulating agency, local, county or state
  • Copy of existing title or legal description on which to base a title search
  • Title-change document
  • Witness or notary public, as required
  • Personal identification
  • Contact the local level of your state tax assessor's office (this may be village, town, county or state) and request the documentation you will need to change the title on a piece of property. They may refer you to other departments as well. Ownership of a house is most critically a tax matter, but zoning, building and other government departments may be relevant as well. Expect the procedure to be different from where you live, especially if you are completing this from out of state.

  • Assemble all required proof of property ownership as it stands now. This might include a will showing that you are the heir, insurance, bank and survey documents confirming the property in question and a copy of the most recent title as well as the deed of sale. In some states, submitting these requested documents with a notarized change-of-title form may be all that you will need. In other states, you may require an additional title search, just as though you were a brand new purchaser.

  • Follow all directions involved for providing forms and completing documents. If the title-change document requires notarization, for example, contact a local bank to find a notary; having a friend or even the current title-holder witness your signature is not the legal requirement. Meet deadlines for submission and use certified mail if directed to do so. Following procedures may seem irritating and may be slightly inconvenient. Failure to do so, however, can keep the change from being the proper processing.

  • Follow up on notifying all pertinent parties once you have received a title-change. These may include your local tax-assessor, the lawyer probating your aunt's will or your former spouse. This may seem like belt-and-suspenders behavior; in theory, all the parties involved in the title-change should receive notice. In fact, that may not always occur. Following up at the time of the change can save tiresome reconstructive work later when tax notices go to the wrong party.

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