One of the most important documents in any real estate transaction is the deed. When it comes to real property, it is the deed that transfers title (whether full or partial) to a property. The deed contains the names of the old and new owners and a legal description of the property. You can’t transfer real estate unless you have something in writing. That “something” is almost always a deed.
Because there is no “one size fits all” property transfer, there are several types of deeds. Each one conveys a different ownership interest.
A warranty deed does more than just transfer ownership of property. It explicitly promises the buyer that the transferor (or grantor – i.e., the person selling the property) has good title to the property. In other words, it warrants that the property is free and clear of any liens or other claims of ownership. The deed also provides the buyer with a guarantee that the transferor will compensate the buyer if it turns out that the there are other claims or liens on the property.
A warranty deed may also make other promises (“covenants”) to address any particular problems that may arise in the transaction.
A grant deed transfers ownership of the property and it warrants that title hasn’t already been transferred to someone else or been encumbered, except as set out in the deed.
In contrast to the other two deeds above, a Quitclaim Deed is, in a manner of speaking, the “Russian roulette” of property transfers. A quitclaim deed contains no covenants and no warranties as to title. It merely transfers “whatever interest” the transferor has in the property. If the transferor has a fee (full) interest in the property, the quitclaim deed will transfer that. On the other hand, if the person giving you a quitclaim deed has no interest at all in the property (as sometimes happens in real estate scams), the deed transfers nothing.
That is why, whenever possible, it is best to avoid accepting a quitclaim deed. Because quitclaim deeds carry no warranty, they are frequently used to transfer property interests between family members or in other unique circumstances. For example, quitclaim deeds are often used to transfer interests between divorcing spouses.
Protecting Property Interests is What We Do
When you have property interests to protect, contact us. At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, our practice is concentrated on real estate and only real estate. Our offices are in Cumming, Georgia, and we serve Atlanta and a number of the surrounding counties including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. You can contact us here or call us at 770-888-7707 to schedule your free phone consultation.