Title Tip: Are Records of Deeds And Titles Gender Biased?

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When the title to a piece of Texas real estate is held in both a man and woman’s names, the first name listed on the deed is usually the man’s name. The man’s name is then shown as the primary title holder on tax records and legal documents.

One must wonder if this is some kind of antiquated tradition. Or is the system chauvinistic?

The reasoning has nothing to do with gender bias. When the title company receives a contract, they reference the buyer or buyer’s names as they appear on the contract. Whichever name is listed first becomes the first name listed on title documents and on the deed.

However, when the buyer is getting a mortgage for the purchase, the title company must match their documents with the lender’s paperwork. The names must appear exactly the same and in the same order on both the mortgage lien (deed of trust) and on the ownership deed (warranty deed).

Typically, the first person listed on the loan application becomes the first name listed on the lender documents. The mortgage lender will list the new owner names on their mortgage lien to be filed by the title company. The title company will match the names and their order for documents to be signed at closing.

After closing, the title company records the ownership transfer and liens with the county. Tax records are then changed to the new owner names as they were recorded with the county.

The buyers’ names must also mirror their names as they appear on their IDs (driver’s license or passport). If Billy Bob is really William Robert, then that is how his name needs to appear on all purchase documents. Likewise, if Sally Sue is really Sarah Susan, then that is how her name will appear on purchase documents.

Regardless of whose name appears first, in most residential real estate, both owners are considered joint owners with neither of them owning a larger interest in the property than the other. Whose name appears doesn’t really matter.

If it matters to the buyers, then they should discuss it with their mortgage lender and the title company prior to closing.

The opinions expressed are of the individual author for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contact an attorney to obtain advice for any particular issue or problem.

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Lydia Blair

Lydia Blair (formerly Lydia Player) was a successful Realtor for 10 years before jumping to the title side of the business in 2015. Prior to selling real estate, she bought, remodeled and sold homes (before house flipping was an expression). She’s been through the real estate closing process countless times as either a buyer, a seller, a Realtor, and an Escrow Officer. As an Escrow Officer for Allegiance Title at Preston Center, she likes solving problems and cutting through red tape. The most fun part of her job is handing people keys or a check.

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  1. Abraham Martinez says

    Hi Lydia,

    Great article!! Well, I have a weird situation. I am currently a seller of a house and I have a contract to sell to a buyer who is getting an FHA loan. Everything is going well until, the lender tells me that there is a snag due to a previous government issue that I have. So I am currently serving a 10 year exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare (via the OIG) in general due to a plea agreement I signed about 10 years ago. Nothing about it has to do with Real Estate. Can lender not approve sale because of this? Please let me know.

    Thank you and have a great day!

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