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Real Estate FAQ's
I. Brokers V. Home Inspection
II. Contracts and Transfers VI. Closing
III. Mortgages and Foreclosure

VII. Glossary

IV. Deeds    
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Mortgages and Foreclosure

There are a number of methods to finance a real estate transaction. The most common is a mortgage. This is a document which transfers an interest in the land as collateral for repayment of the debt. The borrower typically pays the debt in installments that include both interest and principal payments.

If the borrower fails to make payments, the mortgage's owner can and will foreclose on the property. In a foreclosure, the lender declares that the entire debt is due immediately. If this is not repaid, the lender can sell the property to pay the remainder of the debt.

Foreclosure procedure depends on state laws, the terms of the mortgage, and the existence of any other liens on the property. A limited amount of late payments are allowed in many states in order to avoid foreclosure, and most lenders also attempt to work extensively with borrowers in a variety of situations before going through with a foreclosure as a last resort to receive payment. If a foreclosure is threatened, a borrower should consult with an experienced real estate attorney to protect his or her interests and resolve the situation as soon as possible.


A deed is a legal document which records the transfer of real estate between owners. No real estate transaction is complete unless the buyer receives a valid deed to the property. Legal requirements for deeds include:

Must be in writing. Verbal transactions are not legitimate.
The names of the buyer and seller.
A legal description of the property.
The signature of the person transferring ownership.
Must follow state and federal laws.

Iowa and Illinois laws differ slightly regarding the language and format for deeds. There are different types of deeds, and the two most common deeds are quitclaim and warranty deeds.

A quitclaim deed allows the seller to resign any rights he or she has to the property. However, it does not guarantee the extent of these rights. Quitclaim deeds are often employed during divorces, when one spouse transfers property rights to the other. This does not release one from an obligation to a mortgage they have signed.

A warranty deed includes an explicit promise to the buyer that the seller has a clear abstract to the real estate. The warranty deed offers the buyer much greater protection, as it guarantees that no liens or encumbrances are extant against the property and undisclosed in the deed. It also obligates the seller to protect the buyer against any defects in the deed. A special warranty deed only contains this guarantee for claims which arose while the seller was the legal owner of the property.

It is a good idea to officially record the deed and make it public record. County governments record property deeds at an office, which is often (but not always) called one of the following:

The recorder's office.
The land registry office.
The register of deeds.

Even if the broker or closer handles the recording of the deed, it is a good idea to make sure that this crucial step takes place. Recording the deed makes the transfer public record, and allows future abstract searchers to find the history of a property's ownership.

Given the crucial nature of the deed, it is vital to have the deed reviewed by a competent real estate attorney.

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If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa zoning, floreclosure and landlord attorney, representing clients in Muscatine, Iowa at the Teitle Law Offices. Give us a call at (563) 345-4100 or email us at info@teitlelaw.com.
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  2550 Middle Road,
Suite 604
  Bettendorf, IA 52722
  Phone: (563) 345-4100
  Fax: (563) 345-4111

Davenport, Iowa Attorneys offering a broad estate planning / probate, criminal law, family law, guardianships and adoption, juvenile law, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, real estate, for sale by owner, trucking accidents, and wrongful death. Lawyers at the Teitle Law Offices office are dedicated to represent clients in Eastern and Central Iowa, including the cities of Bettendorf, Davenport, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, Clinton, Maquoketa, Tipton, Dubuque, Ottumwa, Wapello, Burlington, Waterloo and the communities that make up Scott, Johnson, Linn, Mucatine, Clinton, Jackson, Cedar, Dubuque, Wapello, Louisa, Des Moines and Blackhawk counties. We also represent clients in Central Illinois, including the cities of Rock Island, Aledo, Cambridge, Moline and Morrison and the communities that make up Rock Island, Mercer, Henry and Whiteside counties.

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