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These terms describe the two approaches used by the government to maintain records about real estate. All real property is either “abstract” or “torrens.” The default approach is abstract, which means the county recorder keeps a copy of all documents that are recorded affecting a particular piece of property. One can build an abstract (summary) of the documents on file at the recorder’s office and review those documents to determine ownership.

If a property has gone through a court proceeding called a registration proceeding, it is then referred to as torrens property and the County Registrar of Title, with the help of the court, keeps track of who owns particular property and issues a Certificate of Title, much like a car title.

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