When you buy a car and when you buy a house, a title or deed, respectively, is issued to identify you as the owner. In the case of a vehicle, the title will identify any liens against the vehicle, unlike a piece of property, a deed will not show any liens within the title document. The liens on a property are recorded separately against the property. These liens on property can be discovered by an accurate title search.
There are other similarities between these two documents. A car title is issued by a state agency – usually the department of motor vehicles or similar agency — and if you took out a loan to buy the car, the lender will hold on to the title until you’ve paid off the loan. A vehicle title will contain identifying information about the car, including vehicle identification number (or, VIN), make and model, year, gross vehicle weight, and original purchase price.
A deed to a property states the legal description of the property and its location and will include the purchasers and sellers of the property. It will also contain the value given for the property, or the purchase price. A deed is issued at the closing table and is created by a title company and/or a real estate attorney and is recorded in the land records in which the property is located.
To sell a piece of property, the seller does not need to be in possession of the “original” deed as long as the deed was recorded in the land records. The Seller does need to possess the original title when selling a vehicle.
The other difference is, with a vehicle, the lender will hold the title until you pay off the loan; with a piece of property, the lender will record a release in the land records where the property is located to release the loan from the property.