What is a deed? A deed is a document that conveys a transfer of ownership of property from one person to another. There are several types of deeds to choose from when transferring ownership.
A general warranty deed is the most common type of deed used for transfer of ownership. It ensures not only that the seller has the proper title to sell the property, but that all prior owners had good title, thus that there is a valid chain of ownership and that the property is free from any defects. The seller is therefore required to defend the buyer against all claims against defects, regardless of when they occurred. Defects may include liens or judgements against the title and prevent the property from being sold unless the defect is fixed. Most cases call for general warranty deeds because it provides the buyer adequate assurance that there is a proper title to the property. The buyer will often obtain a full title search and title insurance.
A special warranty deed guarantees the same warranties as a general warranty only when applied to issues with the title that occurred during the seller’s possession of the property. For a potential buyer, this means that the seller will not protect the buyer in the case that there is a defect in the title before the seller obtained possession. The seller is only required to defend against defects that may have happened while they owned the property. Special warranty deeds are often used during construction and for commercial transactions because there will not be a reason to make warranties as to the prior owners in the chain of title.
In a quitclaim deed, the seller makes no warranties as to whether he or she has a proper title to the property. In most cases, quit claim deeds are used for property transfers between family members or in situations where there is trust between the buyer and seller. We generally avoid using quitclaim deeds to transfer property. Title companies sometimes do like to insure title with quitclaim deeds.
It is important to make sure that you choose the correct type of deed for your property and that the deed is filled out properly to avoid any potential issues with the title. We invite you to contact us to speak with an experienced and board-certified real estate attorney. Our law firm’s number is 713-572-4900.