When you want to transfer ownership in real property, it’s necessary to prepare, execute and file a deed to the property. If you’ve bought, sold or otherwise been a party to the transfer of real estate, you have probably observed that there are different types of deeds—the two most common are warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. What exactly is a deed and what are the differences between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed?
Understanding the Function of a Property Deed
The ownership of real property is generally by documents of title. The title contains a legal description of the property, as well as the name of any person with an ownership interest. The purpose of a deed is to legally transfer title or ownership to real property. The deed identifies the seller (transferor) and the buyer (transferee), and also contains the legal description of the property being conveyed. To be valid, a deed must be signed by all named and interested parties.
The Different Types of Deeds
One of the issues that must always be addressed with a transfer of land is whether or not there is “clear” title. Essentially, that means that the seller has valid title and that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property, such as judgment or tax liens, or other claims of ownership. A warranty deed conveys ownership, but also explicitly guarantees that the seller/transferor has clear title. If any liens or encumbrances are discovered after the transfer, the seller must compensate the buyer for any losses. A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, only transfers whatever interest the person conveying the property has, making no assurances that there is clear title. Quitclaim deeds are typically used where there is a known “cloud” on the title or where one owner simply wants to convey any interest in the property to another owner—in a divorce proceeding, for example.
Contact the Law Offices of Howard N. Sobel
For professional and knowledgeable legal counsel with a personal approach, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-424-6400. We are available evenings and weekends upon request. We take all major credit cards. Home and hospital visits can be arranged for personal injury victims.