Warranty Deed

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Warranty Deed: The Most Common Deed in Real Estate

A deed is the legal document that conveys real estate title from one owner to another. There are generally two types of real estate deeds: those with warranties (Warranty Deeds, Grant Deeds) and those without warranties (Quitclaim Deeds, Executor and Administrator Deeds).

A general warranty deed is standard for house sales, offering one of the highest levels of protection for its recipient. Sellers make binding promises, known as covenants, to their buyers through a warranty deed. These include:

  • The seller owns the property.
  • The seller has full rights to convey the title to a new owner.
  • The title is clear.
  • The seller agrees to "warrant and forever defend" the title.

Warranty deed, defined: A legal instrument that transfers an interest in property from one person or entity (grantor) to another (grantee). It guarantees that the grantor legally owns the property, has the right to convey it, and will stand behind the assurance of a clear and marketable title.

A special warranty deed offers only a limited warranty. It does not protect against possible title defects that arose before the property was owned by the seller. The special warranty simply guarantees that no title problems were introduced during the time the seller held the property.

A general warranty deed is the most common type used in regular home sales. The grantor of a general warranty deed promises to hold the legal title to the property and assures that the property has a clean and marketable chain of title.

  • Title: Indicates what the document is, such as "Warranty Deed" or "Special Warranty Deed."
  • Executed date: Indicates when the deed is signed, notarized, delivered, and accepted.
  • Names of grantor and grantee: Identifies the parties involved in the transfer.
  • Habendum clause: The language of the transfer, stating the grantor owns the property free from liens, except for any listed restrictions or easements, and will defend these assurances "forever."
  • Consideration: The price paid by the recipient of the deed.
  • Legal description: The precise legal description of the property.
  • Signatures: Required from every owner before the property changes hands.
  • Prepared by: May be the grantor or the grantor's representative.

Once the document is signed, delivered, and accepted, it becomes a legally executed deed. The buyer then records the deed with the county recorder to ensure public notice and preserve the integrity of the title.

A title search is essential to verify that the property is owned free and clear. This search should identify any liens or claims so that they can be resolved or noted on the deed, allowing the buyer to be fully informed of any restrictions.

Title examiners look for various claims and defects, such as liens from courts, zoning issues, or undisclosed easements.

Real estate buyers should understand that a title search uncovers past claims but does not predict future problems. Many opt to purchase title insurance to protect against post-purchase claims.

The "forever" language in a warranty deed refers to the duration over which the property is conveyed, not the length of time the seller must protect the buyer. Courts may consider the standard statute of limitations when determining how long sellers must uphold their covenants.

More Information About Warranty Deeds

Note: Deeds.com does not provide legal advice. This information is general and may vary by state. Consult a real estate lawyer for legal advice specific to your situation.