Deeds and Title

Ownership and Deeds in North Carolina

Every state is slightly different in its laws regarding property ownership. Knowing the basics of property law generally in the United States can go a long way. However, as you buy and sell properties in a state, knowing that market’s specific laws and preferences can help to set expectations and make your transactions move forward more smoothly. 

In this article, we walk through some of the key ownership considerations in North Carolina.

Types of Ownership in North Carolina

North Carolina recognizes four basic types of ownership: sole ownership, tenants by the entirety, joint tenants, and tenants in common. 

Sole Ownership in North Carolina

In this type of ownership, one individual or entity owns the property completely with no other tenants. One important wrinkle here is that North Carolina does require that non-owner spouses sign any documents selling, conveying, or otherwise encumbering property owned by the other spouse.  

Tenant by the Entirety in North Carolina

This is a form of ownership specifically created for spouses. In North Carolina, spouses have the option of owning property by the entirety, which functions like a joint tenancy in that the surviving spouse will immediately take ownership of the property on the death of the other spouse. Property purchased by married grantees is presumed to be taken as Tenancy by the Entirety unless a different tenancy type is stated or elected on the Deed.

Joint Tenants in North Carolina

North Carolina recognizes joint tenancy with right of survivorship as a common form of joint ownership for non-spouses. This form allows multiple people or entities to own a title interest to the property, and comes with various rights and responsibilities. In particular, joint tenancies with right of survivorship involve all parties having equal ownership and the right to assume another owner’s interest in the event the other owner dies. 

Tenancy in Common in North Carolina

North Carolina also recognizes tenancy in common as a form of co-ownership for non-spouses. Tenancy in common allows multiple owners to own title in a property, but rather than owning equally, the owners can set varying ownership percentages. For example, one owner could own 51% of the property, with the other owning 49%. Additionally, an owner’s share would pass to the owner’s heirs upon death, rather than passing to the other tenants in common. 

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Types of Deeds in North Carolina

The most common deed forms in North Carolina are warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and trustee’s deeds. Warranty deeds provide a form of protection to the buyer in the form of a warranty by the seller that guarantees no issues with the title. Special warranty deeds also provide a guarantee, but only that the seller has not created any issues with the title during the time that the seller owned the property. 

Quitclaim deeds are available for title clearing, survey or property line issues, or passing property between spouses. Typically, quitclaim deeds are not insurable in North Carolina.


Knowing how a property is typically conveyed in a state, and what types of ownership are available for the title can go a long way to ensuring a smooth transaction. 

North Carolina follows fairly standard laws and document customs when it comes to property ownership. It does give non-owner spouses rights in transactions by owner spouses with regard to property, which may be important to your transaction. In general, however, understanding the basics will go a long way in North Carolina. 

*The information provided on this site does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, financial, tax, or real estate advice. Please consult your expert for advice in those areas. All content is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide a complete description of the subject matter. Although Blueprint provides information it believes to be accurate, Blueprint makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this site. Specific processes will vary based on applicable law. The title and closing process will be handled by a third-party attorney to the extent required by law. Product offerings vary by jurisdiction and are not available or solicited in any state where we are not licensed.