A deed is a legal document that is used to transfer ownership rights in a residence or other piece of property from a current owner to a new owner. There are many different types of deeds. Each type of deed has its own requirements. however, the majority of deeds usually include the following information:
- A legal description of the property being transferred;
- The names of the individuals who are taking part in the deed transaction, including the grantor, or the seller, and the grantee, or the buyer; and
- The signature of the individual who is transferring the deed. It is important to note that this signature must be notarized by a notary public.
A deed is most commonly used to transfer ownership of property during a purchase or sale of a home, or when an individual inherits property from one of their family members. A deed can also be used to transfer gifts, trust contents, or certain rights, such as a sheriff’s deed or tax deed.
If an individual receives a property deed, it is extremely important that they remember to record it with the local county recorder’s department where the property is located. A deed must be recorded in order for it to be valid. Failure to record a deed may lead to serious consequences.
Although recording a deed is not required by law, not doing so comes with many consequences. For example, an individual who does not record a deed will have difficulty proving they are the true owner of their property. If an individual cannot prove ownership, they will not be able to sell their property or refinance their mortgage.
What are the Different Types of Deeds?
There are different types of deeds that can be used to transfer property interest. The most common include:
- A quitclaim deed;
- A general warranty deed; and
- A special warranty deed.
A quitclaim deed provides the least amount of protection for the buyer. While it does transfer the property to the buyer, it does not guarantee that the grantor has any actual ownership rights in the property. Additionally, it may leave the buyer open to legal issues, such as if there is a lien against the property or another individual is the true owner and comes to claim the property.
In contrast to a quitclaim deed, a general warranty deed provides the buyer the greatest amount of protection. This type of deed guarantees that the grantor actually owns and is able to sell the property. It also provides that the property is free from any debts, encumbrance, or liens against it.
A special warranty deed provides the buyer adequate protection for two specific guarantees. First, it provides that the grantor does hold the title to the property. Second, it guarantees that there are no liens or encumbrances that existed on the property while the grantor owned it. However, it does not include any guarantees regarding encumbrances that may have been associated with the property prior to the owner transferring their property interest.
What is a General Warranty Deed?
As noted above, a general warranty deed, also called a warranty deed, is a property deed that guarantees a seller has a clear title to the property and has the right to sell it. The deed is a title commonly used to show ownership of a property.
What are the Differences Between a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed?
A special warranty deed provides a guarantee that the seller did not incur any defects to the title during the time they owned the property. It is important to note that this does not guarantee the title is free of any defects that may have been incurred prior to the seller acquiring the property. If a seller accepts a special warranty deed, they are not guaranteed a clear title and may be required to resolve any disputes that arise for possessing the potentially unclear title.
If possible, it is always best to obtain a general warranty deed during any real estate transaction. There may be cases where a special warranty deed will be acceptable, such as when a piece of property has been in a family for many years and ownership is fairly well known. Having a general warranty deed, however, provides the owner the best assurances that they will not have a future title dispute.
What is a Title Dispute?
A title dispute generally involves a dispute over who actually owns a piece of property. A title dispute can arise in a number of ways. For example, a warranty deed dispute often involves:
- A forged deed;
- A fraudulent deed;
- A competing deed;
- An unrecorded deed; or
- A faulty deed.
A warranty deed dispute may also involve parties who are at odds of the purchase of a property. For example, an ownership dispute may arise if one party purchases the property in their name only due to the other party’s poor credit history.
What is a Chain of Title Dispute?
The chain of title refers to the history of the ownership of the property. The chain of title should go all the way back to the original owner of the property
A common problem that arises involving the chain of title of a property is if a third party disputes the chain and asserts that they are the true owner of the property. The current owner of the property will be required to conduct a title search to determine if the third party has a valid claim.
In most cases, when an individual purchases a home, a chain of title search is performed before closing. This ensures a chain of title dispute will not arise. A purchaser may also obtain title insurance, usually for a small fee, to provide extra protection during the home buying process.
How Do I Check to See If My Property Has a Title Dispute?
The best place to begin if an individual wants to check their property title is the local county clerk’s record office. If an individual has recently purchased property and has not recorded the title, it is essential to do so to prevent any future disputes.
The deed records will reveal any information that may affect the property rights of the current owner. The best place to start searching for any title disputes is to review the history of the transfer of title of the property from one party to another. A title search will reveal if there are any disputes, mortgages or liens, or if any easements exist.
If an individual is unsure about this process, there are title search services available that complete the task for a fee. Additionally, a real estate attorney will be familiar with the process and able to advise an individual on how to perform a title search.
In order to reduce the risk of a costly title dispute, it is best for an individual to purchase title insurance and ensure they receive a warranty deed at the time of purchase. A title insurance company will ensure that the title is free and clear of any other interests prior to the purchase of the property. In some cases, it may also provide a defense if a future boundary dispute arises.
Should I Contact a Real Estate Attorney about a General Warranty Deed?
Yes, it is essential to have the help of an experienced real estate attorney with any general warranty deed issues. Purchasing a home or a piece of property is often one of the most expensive investments you will make during your lifetime.
By having an attorney involved from the beginning, you may be able to avoid any issues or disputes. Should a dispute arise, an attorney will be able to review the deed, the chain of title, and represent you during any court proceedings, if necessary.