Now that you’ve gone through all the hard work of finding your perfect home, it’s time to make an offer. The ‘offer’ is a contract between you, the buyer(s) and the seller(s) and in Colorado is is call the “Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate”.

When completing the contract with your Real Estate Broker, one of the first decisions you need to make is how you will be holding the title to your new home.

Thanks to Heritage Title for providing this information.  Please note: this information is for reference purposes only. How title is vested has serious legal consequences.  You should consult an attorney to determine what will work best in your personal situation.

If you are a single person buying a home and you will be holding title by yourself it is called holding title “in severalty”.  “In Severalty”, is used  when real estate is owned by a single person or legal entity.  A sole owner is free to do anything with the property that is within the law—sell it, lease it, gift it, or pass it to heirs without anyone else’s permission.

If two or more people will be holding title to the home, things get a bit more complicated.

Here is an overview of the different ways two or more people can hold title and how ownership is affected.  You can also download a pdf of ways to hold title here.

Joint Tenancy

  • Two or more people can hold title to the property
  • All parties hold equal interest
  • Title is held in the names of the individual owners
  • There is an equal right of possession
  • If one of the owners conveys their interest then it breaks the joint tenancy (for example, if one owner decides to sell their interest to another person or one of the other owners then the ownership automatically defaults to “tenants in common”.
  • If one of the owner’s dies then their interest automatically passes to the survivor(s)
  • Last survivor owns the entire interest
  • Co-owners interest may be sold at an execution sale to satisfy any judgements by a creditor (see above for what happens to title)

Tenants in Common

  • Two or more people can hold title to the property
  • Any number of interest, equal or unequal.
  • Title is held in the names of the individual owners
  • There is an equal right of possession
  • Each co-owner’s interest may be conveyed separately.  No automatic conveyance.
  • If an owner dies their interest is passes according to their estate.
  • Heirs become tenants in common
  • Co-owners interest may be sold at an execution sale to satisfy any judgements by a creditor.

Partnership

  • Two or more people can hold title to the property
  • Partnership interests may be equal or unequal
  • Title is held in the name of the partnership
  • Possession is determined by the partnership agreement
  • Any general partner, authorized by the partnership agreement, may convey the title.
  • If one of the partners dies, the partnership agreement provides for termination or continuance of the partnership
  • Heirs will have rights in the partnership but not in the specific property.
  • Any judgment by a creditor can only affect the profits of a partner.

Trust

  • There can be any number of beneficiaries of the trust
  • Interest in the trust may be equal or unequal
  • Title is held in the name of the trustee.
  • Possession is determined by the trust agreement
  • Trustee may convey title in accordance to the trust agreement
  • Trust agreement usually provides for distribution upon death of the settlor.
  • Usually, a creditor cannot execute on a beneficiary’s interest.
Ways to Hold Title

Title Vesting Informational Chart