A General Warranty Deed Form is a formal document that offers a full guarantee against any defects and prior claims to the title of a real estate dating back to the entire history of the property.
In addition, a general warranty deed guarantees the buyer that the seller/grantor is the legal owner of the property and holds the right to convey the property in question.
General warranty deeds are mainly the common types of warranty deeds and offer the most protection when buying property – most buyer-friendly warranty deed. The deed guarantees against any debts, damages/defects, mortgage, title claims/ownership, interest, and any issues related to the property.
This is important because, in most cases, the seller will be a stranger, and there is no proof that they have the full authority to sell the property unless a warranty deed is produced to legally bind them to any financial or legal burdens associated with the property.
This is achieved by outlining the seller, the buyer, the terms of sale, jurisdiction, legal description of the property being sold, any covenants made to the buyer, and previous owners of the property. A physical copy of the deed must be presented, and both parties have to sign before the transaction is closed.
The following alternative names can be used to refer to a general warranty deed:
- Statutory Warranty Deed
- Deed of Guarantee
- Full Covenant and Warranty Deed
What is a Full Covenant Warranty deed
A full covenant warranty deed is a deed that provides a buyer with specific assurances that six key covenants, above and beyond guarantees offered by a basic deed, will be met. Unlike warranties, covenants do not include statements of fact. These key covenants of the deed can be categorized into two broad categories; present and future covenants. These two categories of deeds are then further divided into subcategories.
These subcategories are:
Present covenants address any current claims or defects in the property and title in question.
Examples of present covenants include:
- Covenant of seisin – A guarantee that the deed to the property describes the property being purchased by the buyer and he or she is the owner of the described property.
- Covenant of the right to convey – A guarantee that the seller has full possession of the property and its title and is legally authorized to transfer the property.
- Covenant against encumbrances – A guarantee that there are no liens (legal claim) such as inheritance/ownership dispute or encumbrances (interest, leases, right, burden or liability) such as mortgage attached to the property being conveyed.
Future covenants protect the buyer from any liabilities or issues that can occur later on after the completion of the property transfer.
Future covenants include:
- Covenant of quiet enjoyment – A guarantee that the buyer will get to enjoy the property without disturbances and challenges, such as eviction, to the buyer’s right to possess and use the property.
- Covenant of warranty – A guarantee against any future encroachment issues to the property. A covenant warranty assures the buyer of compensation should there be a lawful third-party claim to the property.
- Covenant of further assurance – A guarantee by the seller that he or she will fix any defects or claims associated with the property and its title in the future if they ever arise. It protects against defects in the title, such as mistakes in the documentation and missing legal documents to prove ownership.
Note for the Grantee: The seller could present a Warranty Deed as a part of the sale to show proof that they have absolute rights to the title of the property.
Warranty Deed Types
A quitclaim deed, also known as a non-warranty deed, offers the buyer no protection or guarantees to any defects but only transfers whatever interest the seller has in the property – if any. Consequently, the buyer has no legal recourse against the seller should any defects or claims related to the title and the property arise. As a result, it is used when there are no doubts about the ownership of the title, such as transfers between family members when adding a child to the title or adding/removing a spouse from the title of a property after divorce. The deed can also be used after a name change or correct mistakes in the title – for example, converting a deed without survivorship to a deed with survivorship.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
Special Warranty Deed
Also referred to as a limited warranty deed offers a guarantee against any defects and claims that can be linked to the period when the grantor was in possession of the title and the property. This way, the buyer assumes legal responsibility for any issues (legal claims, debts, and covenants) before and after the seller owned the property. This type of deed offers the buyer lesser protection than a general warranty deed. However, they guarantee enough protection that any buyer in real estate would want.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
Deed of Trust
A deed of trust offers the same protection as a warranty deed and is used to convey the legal title of a property to a third-party trustee such as a title company. Additionally, it contains the terms typically found in a mortgage. Hence, it is generally used as a substitute for mortgages in some states such as California, Virginia, Washington, North Carolina, Idaho, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, West Virginia, Nebraska, Texas, Washinton, the district if Colombia, Oregon Alaska, Maryland and Tennessee. Alternatively, the use of mortgages is more common in the other 31 states. This way, the creditor retains an interest in the property if the borrower defaults on the loan. Once the mortgage is fully paid, the title is then transferred from the trustee to the buyer.
Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)
How General Warranty Deed Form Works
A general warranty deed can be interpreted as proof of ownership of the title to the property. However, it is a legal declaration by the seller that they are the sworn owners of the title of the property which the buyer (grantee) intends to purchase.
This implies that the seller/grantor may not be aware of any defects or claims to the property, but they are willing to guarantee that there is none in existence. A general warranty awards the buyer the legal right to seek corrective actions should any defects or claims to the property’s title arise. Corrective actions/remedies include suing for damages (monetary compensation) and demanding corrective recourse etc., associated with defects in the title.
This provision by a warranty deed bars sellers from selling property they are not legally authorized to, thus reducing potential fraud cases in the buying and selling property. The general warranty deed has to be signed by both parties before the transaction is completed.
The deed outlines the parties involved, terms of sale, jurisdiction, legal description of the property and its boundaries, associated covenants, and a list of previous owners.
The deed guarantees:
- The property has not already been sold
- The seller/grantor is the legal owner of the property and is authorized to sell it
- If the title is a joint tenancy, the exact interest or portion of the seller is clearly declared and shall be transferred to the buyer
- The property being transferred is as stipulated by the legal description provided in the deed
These assurances must be put into writing. They guarantee the buyer is buying what they bargained for.
Key Elements of a General Warranty Deed Form
The structure and format of a general warranty deed are derived from customary real estate practices and laws.
As a generalization, the warranty deed should contain the following customary elements:
The grantor is the party selling the property. This can be an entity or an individual. Their legal names should appear in the warranty deed to specify who awards the warranties outlined in the general warranty deed.
The grantee is the person or entity purchasing the property. They should be identified by their full names. The grantee is the party being protected from the defects and claims associated with the property through the general warranty deed.
The mailing addresses of the involved parties (grantor and grantee) should be provided in the document. Mailing addresses are used as identification information and are necessary for communication in case of any issues related to the property.
The deed can be used to legally transfer property to multiple buyers who, after the transfer, are termed as joint tenants. Each tenant is awarded sole authority to their portion or share and can manage (sell or gift) it as they see fit. bequeath
Consideration is the money, if any, the buyer/grantee will part with to obtain the title/ownership of the property indicated in the warranty deed.
A description of the property being transferred should be given. This way, one can clearly identify the property they are buying. A legal description will show the type and size of the property and the county or state where it is located. The property’s location is important in determining jurisdiction so that applicable laws may be followed when executing the provisions of the warranty deed.
Each property has a parcel number assigned to it for tax purposes. The parcel number is crucial to property buyers, for they will assume the financial obligation of real estate taxes to the specified property.
It is recommended that the signing of a general warranty deed be witnessed. However, in some states, it is a requirement. The witnesses should be identified by name and sign as proof that both parties willingly signed the deed.
The warranty deed has to be notarized. Notarization can be done as the parties sign the deed or after it has been signed to authenticate the deed and render it legally enforceable.
In some cases, the seller might wish to retain the right to access all or part of the property; they can do so by adding easements in the deed.
This clause is added in cases where the sellers want to remain the legal owner of the property up to their death for tax purposes.
This element is used when the seller wants to retain the legal rights to any resources such as minerals, oil, gas, or any other subsurface resources found in the property.
Getting a General Warranty Deed Form
A general warranty deed form can be crafted by obtaining free warranty deed templates online and providing the necessary information. There are multiple sources one can obtain reliable warranty deed templates. When selecting the template, ensure to pick one suited for the specific state where the property is located. Note that state laws govern the implementation of warranty deeds. Once completed, the deed can be signed and then notarized.
The following steps should then be taken:
- A legal description of the property should be obtained with the new owner’s details added to the title.
- All property taxes should be cleared.
- The notarized deed should then be filed as a public record with the local land records office/land registry office/county recorder’s office, normally found at the local courthouse.
- The deed should be stamped indicating the date, book, and page number where the deed’s details can be obtained from the court’s files. Filing will usually cost $15 per page.
Warranty Deed Laws
There are a few laws associated with warranty deed forms.
They are as follows:
|AL – § 35-4-271|
A.K. – AS 34.15.030
AZ – § 33-402
AR – § 18-12-102
C.A. – § 1092
CO – § 38-30-113
C.T. – Sections 47-36c & 47-36d
D.E. – § 121
FL – § 689.02
GA – § 44-5-62
H.I. – Chapter 13-16
I.D. – § 55-612
IL – 765 ILCS 5/9
IN – § 32-17-1-2
I.A. – § 558.19(3)
K.S. – § 58-2203
KY – KRS 382.030
LA – CC 2475
ME – Title 33, § 763
MD – § 2-105
MA – Chapter 183, Section 10
MI – § 565.151
MN – § 507.07
MS – § 89-1-33
MO – § 442.430
|MT – § 70-20-103|
N.E. – § 76-206
NV – NRS 111.312
NH – § 477:27
N.J. – Section 46:4-7
N.M. – (§ 47-1-29 & § 47-1-44)
N.Y. – N.Y. Real Prop L § 258
NC – § 47H-6
N.D. – § 47-10-13
O.H. – § 5302.05
OK – § 16-40
OR – ORS 93.850
PA – 21 P.S. § 5
R.I. – § 34-11-12
S.C. – § 27-7-10
S.D. – § 43-25-5
T.N. – § 66-5-103
TX – § 66-5-103
U.T. – § 57-1-12
V.T. – § 301
VA – § 55-68
W.A. – RCW 64.04.030
WV – § 36-4-2
W.I. – § 706.10(5)
W.Y. – § 34-2-102
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a Warranty Deed form prove ownership?
Among the different types of warranty deeds, general and special warranty deeds are used as proof of ownership. However, a quitclaim deed does not guarantee proof of ownership.
What are the additional provisions provided to the buyer?
A warranty deed can be used to protect both the buyer and seller. Therefore, it can include additional provisions such as the seller/grantor reserving the right to any minerals found after ownership transfer, any easement established before the ownership transfer, or a life estate interest.
When should I use a Warranty Deed form?
Warranty deeds should be used anytime one intends to purchase property, especially residential property, in order to ensure the transfer is free and clear. Using a warranty deed ensures a buyer gets full ownership of the property without assuming any liabilities before and after the transfer of title.