After reading this chapter, you should understand the following:
- The various forms of real estate ownership, including fee simple, tenancy in common, and joint tenancy
- The mechanics of finding, financing, and closing a real estate transaction
- How adverse possession may sometimes vest title in real property despite the nonconsent of the owner
This chapter follows the steps taken when real estate is transferred by sale.
- The buyer selects a form of ownership.
- The buyer searches for the real estate to be purchased. In doing so, the buyer will usually deal with real estate brokers.
- After a parcel is selected, the seller and buyer will negotiate and sign a sales agreement.
- The seller will normally be required to provide proof of title.
- The buyer will acquire property insurance.
- The buyer will arrange financing.
- The sale and purchase will be completed at a closing.
During this process, the buyer and seller enter into a series of contracts with each other and with third parties such as brokers, lenders, and insurance companies. In this chapter, we focus on the unique features of these contracts, with the exception of mortgages (Chapter 17 "Mortgages and Nonconsensual Liens") and property insurance (Chapter 15 "Insurance"). We conclude by briefly examining adverse possession—a method of acquiring property for free.