In order to convey any real property or an interest in property in Tennessee, the deed must be in writing, acknowledged by the grantor, and registered in the county where the property is located. The Annotated Code of Tennessee allows for the transfer of real property through the usage of a variety of deeds. The statutory forms provided in 66-5-103 may be used in a conveyance of real property in this state and can be altered to suit the precise statement of facts relevant to a transaction. The most commonly used form in this state for a conveyance is the warranty deed, which guarantees that the seller owns the land and has legal right to sell the property. Other forms in common use include a special warranty deed, a quitclaim deed, and a deed of trust.
Real property or an interest in real property can be acquired and conveyed in Tennessee by any person or organization that is able to enter into a legal contract. The Annotated Code of Tennessee provides additional instruction on persons or entities that are legally able to convey real property or an interest therein. An alien, resident or non-resident of the United States, is able to take and hold real or personal property and dispose of or transfer the real or personal property the same as a native citizen would (66-2-101). Additionally, according to section 66-2-102 of the Annotated Tennessee Code, the heirs or devises of aliens may take any lands, held by descent or otherwise, in the same manner as a citizen of the United States. A religious denomination, religious society, or church, incorporated or not, can take and hold any amount of acreage at one place for the purpose of public worship, or for a parsonage, or for a burial ground by deed or otherwise (66-2-201).
A deed or conveyance of lands in Tennessee will not be good and available in law to third parties unless it is acknowledged by the grantor or proved by two witnesses under oath, in the manner prescribed by Tennessee law, and registered (recorded) by the register of deeds in the county where the land is located (66-5-106). A real estate deed can be acknowledged in Tennessee or out-of-state. If acknowledged in another state, the requirements of 66-22-103 must be met. An instrument that has been executed by an agent or attorney can be signed by such agent or attorney for the principal. A deed should contain a recital of the source of title from which the grantor received the equitable interest (66-24-110). Other requirements must also be met in order to record a real estate deed in this state.
A conveyance of land should be registered with the register of deeds in the county where the land lies. If the land lies partly in two counties, the instrument can be registered in either county. If there are several tracts of land, lying in different counties, the conveyance should be registered in each of the counties where any of the tracts are situated (66-24-103). If an instrument is not registered, it will be valid between the parties to it and their heirs and representatives. However, an unregistered real estate deed will be void as to existing or subsequent creditors of, or bona fide purchasers from, the makers without notice (66-26-103). In order to be valid against those without actual notice, the conveyance must be properly registered. Any instruments that are first registered or noted for registration will have preference over an earlier dated instrument, but noted for registration afterwards; unless a court of equity proves that the party claiming under the subsequent instrument had full notice of the previous instrument (66-26-105).
Any person who transfers or applies for recordation of a transfer of land by execution of either a general warranty deed, quitclaim deed, or any other devise, with knowledge that the transferor or grantor had no legal or equitable interest to convey the land commits a Class A misdemeanor (66-3-104).