In New York, as in other jurisdictions, real property is transferred from one owner to another by means of a deed. A deed is the written legal instrument that transfers ownership.
To be effective, a deed must meet a number of requirements. First, the deed must be in writing, and it must contain operative language that is sufficient to transfer ownership of the property. An oral contract for the sale of land will generally be unenforceable. Second, the seller must have the legal right to sell the property. Third, the deed must identify both the parties to the transaction and the parcel of property being conveyed. Fourth, the deed must be signed by the owner who is conveying the property. Finally, the deed must be delivered to the purchaser, or the purchaser's legal representative, and accepted by him or her.
But signing the document is not necessarily the end of the deal. As we discussed in an earlier post, the purchaser should not let the ink dry too long before recording the deed at the office of the County Clerk.
Nor is the process always as easy as following the steps above. The conveyance of real property can present many legal pitfalls for the unwary buyer or seller. Deeds must be carefully drafted, delivered and recorded. The legal description of the property must be absolutely correct. Deficiencies in a deed can lead to a real estate dispute or even real estate litigation. Working with an experienced real estate attorney can help ensure the transaction is completed properly.
Source: Investopedia, "Understanding Property Deeds," accessed Nov. 15, 2015