Warranty Deed Form

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A warranty deed is a legal document used when the ownership of a home is being transferred from one party to the next. When this transaction occurs, the seller of the property provides a warranty deed guaranteeing that they hold the title of the property and can legally sell it, as it has no legal encumbrances. Warranty deeds require a great deal of information and may be legally binding if properly completed. It is recommended that these types of documents are completed or approved by legal counsel before being submitted for recording.

What is a Warranty Deed? 

A warranty deed is used when a seller of a property needs to demonstrate they hold the title to the real estate and that they can legally sell it to a buyer. The deed will look at the history of the property in addition to the current grantor's ownership. The warranty deed will cover many different covenants.

This property law deed requires a great deal of information in order to be legally binding. Since this is a deed being used to transfer property from one person to another, it is important to have as much accurate information as you have access to.

It can be beneficial to seek legal advice and have your counsel review your completed warranty deed to ensure you have included all necessary information in the document to allow you to transfer properties.

Real Estate -- How it Relates to a Warranty Deed

Real estate is a form of real property. It is defined as the land plus anything permanently attached to it, such as buildings, including homes, trees, and fences.

A warranty deed is a legal document that protects the buyer in a real estate sale transaction between a seller (grantor) and a buyer (grantee). It assures the buyer by means of a warranty that the seller owns the property -- the real estate -- free of any encumbrances, outstanding liens, or mortgages against it.

Deed of Trust -- How it Relates to a Warranty Deed

A deed of trust is an instrument used to secure a real estate transaction. Whereas a warranty deed involves just two parties in the sale of real estate -- the seller (grantor) and the buyer (grantee), a deed of trust involves three parties -- a lender (beneficiary), a borrower (trustor) and a third-party trustee. The funds to buy the real property are given to the borrower by the lender as a loan; the borrower signs a promissory note or multiple promissory notes. The trustee holds the legal title to the real property until the borrower has paid off the loan in full. The borrower holds equitable title during the term of the deed of trust with all the benefits of real property ownership, as long as the borrower is in compliance with the terms and conditions enumerated in the deed of trust. 

Certain states require a deed of trust in place of a traditional mortgage. A deed of trust is duly recorded with the county in question as a public record.

Should the borrower sell the real property prior to paying off the loan in full, the trustee will pay to the lender, from the sale proceeds, funds that will cover the amount still due on the loan; any funds remaining from the sale will go to the borrower.

If, instead, the loan is paid in full on or prior to the end date of the deed of trust, the trustee will terminate the deed of trust and convey full legal title to the borrower. 

Warranty Deed Basics

Long gone are the good old days when property could be legally transferred with a handshake and honest intentions. To ensure that a property transfer will be relatively trouble-free, a document known as a warranty deed will be needed. Therefore, it will be worthwhile to learn the basics of this essential instrument.

Broadly speaking, the purpose of a warranty deed is to guarantee that the seller of some property -- often including land -- holds free and clear title to (i.e., ownership of) that property as well as the right to sell it to the purchaser. While a warranty deed is not the only legally recognized method of ownership transfer, it is often preferred because it specifically attests that the seller not only has the right to sell the property but also that the property is entirely free of debt or liens. This, by itself, could undoubtedly mean fewer hassles and headaches for the prospective purchaser. This provides a much broader protection than title insurance, which only protects against claims on the property. In addition, a warranty deed guarantees that the property has not already been sold to someone else; furthermore, it ensures that the seller will be responsible for any faults or problems related to the property. While these considerations will indubitably benefit the purchaser, they also provide a measure of credibility to the seller. Thus, whether you're a buyer or a seller, and regardless of whether you're dealing with a business or an individual, if you want to avoid ownership-related problems down the road, a warranty deed might be your best option.

When finalizing the terms and language of a warranty deed, there are certain things you'll want to look for.  

  • Naturally, the names of the buyer and seller should be there, as well as their physical addresses; post office boxes should generally be avoided.

  • There should be a description of the property that is being transferred, along with a specification of the county and state where the seller is to sign the warranty deed. Moreover, there should be an indication of whether or not money is to be exchanged for the property, and if so, then the exact amount should be specified.

Next, you'll want to know the two main types of warranty deeds and how they are different:

General Warranty Deed

One type is known as a general warranty deed. This is the most common type of warranty deed, and it covers the entire history of the property. In this type of warranty deed, the seller is responsible for any claims against the title or any debts, damages, or other issues with the title dating back through the property's entire history, even before the seller owned it. From the standpoint of the buyer, this is the best type of warranty deed to have in most cases. For this reason, general warranty deeds are considered the standard means of transferring property, especially among buyers who seek assurance that the property is entirely free of liens, title challenges, pending legal actions, and other encumbrances.

Special Warranty Deed 

There is a second type of warranty deed that you should know about; it is known as a special warranty deed. A special warranty deed is limited -- not as far-reaching as a general warranty deed. It provides only two warranties: that the grantor has title to the property in question and that the property has been unencumbered while the current owner has held title. The grantee has no right to take legal action against the grantor for any claims, past or future, outside of the period the grantor has held title. Special warranty deeds are used more often in commercial real estate settings.     

This type of deed also assures the buyer of freedom from title-related issues on the property being transferred, but only for the period during which the seller owned that property. In other words, the seller will only be legally responsible for debts, liens, and other title-related issues caused or incurred during his or her ownership of the property.

As a result, there will be no assurance given that the previous owners (assuming that there were previous owners) did, in fact, own the property without title challenges or other problems. If such problems existed, there would be the distinct possibility that the buyer would inherit those problems; consequently, a special warranty deed might not be the ideal option in many cases. As always, caveat emptor -- let the buyer beware!

Now that you know the purpose and types of warranty deeds, you may be wondering where you can find a legally valid warranty deed form. One thing to keep in mind is that the wording of the form will vary by state or county; there's no such thing as a universal form that covers all regions. Therefore, if you're planning to hire an attorney to draft the form, make sure that he or she is qualified and knowledgeable in regard to the particular laws of the region under consideration.  

As you might expect, it can be reassuring to have an attorney provide you with one of these forms, but it can also be expensive. If you have the do-it-yourself spirit, be sure to get one that meets the specifications of the state or county in which you plan to file it.  After checking the form to make sure that it's completely accurate, be prepared to have the form notarized when all parties sign it. Also, expect to pay a nominal fee when you file the deed at your local courthouse.

Compared to most legal paperwork, warranty deeds are relatively simple and stress-free. Just as with any legal matter, it never hurts to know the facts. When it comes to warranty deeds, learning about them can make your property transferal much smoother, easier, and devoid of unexpected problems.

When Should You Use a Warranty Deed? 

By FormSwift Editorial Team
March 29, 2021

You should use a warranty deed any time you purchase a property from a buyer. Doing so ensures that you will receive protection against any unwanted surprises after taking ownership of your new property. Some feel as though warranty deeds are not needed if they purchase property from family or friends, however, neglecting to use one and outstanding claims or liens arise against the property, it can cause rifts in your relationships.

Types of Warranty Deeds

As mentioned above, there is more than one type of warranty deed. Aside from a special and general warranty deed, there are:

Grant Deeds

Grant deeds are very similar to general warranty deeds and depending on the county or region, the two are fraternal twins. An owner can use a grant deed instead of a warranty deed and have the same protection. However, this is not the case in all regions of the united states. In some parts of the country, grant deeds offer all the same protections as a warranty deed, protecting against claims to the land, liens, and restrictions. However, in the majority of the country, grant deeds do not protect against third-party claims to the land.

Bargain Sale Deed

Bargain sale deeds do not protect against encumbrances on the property. These basic warranty deeds only warrant that the seller possesses the title to the property, and does not protect against claims, liens or encumbrances. These types of titles are generally used when a buyer is purchasing a foreclosed home.

Components of a Warranty Deed

In order to transfer ownership of real property between parties, a legal document known as a deed is required. Warranty deeds are the most commonly used version of this document. The warranty deed form contains certain guarantees by the grantor to the grantee that their title is good. These guarantees are sometimes referred to as covenants for title. Depending on the fulfillment of these covenants, warranty deeds are classified as either general or special. The general warranty deed form is used if the grantor can guarantee all of the usual covenants on a piece of real property. A special warranty deed form is used if the grantor can promise only limited warranty.

A warranty deed template will include the following basic components: the names of the parties to the claim (the grantor and the grantee), a statement of consideration, a granting clause that includes definite operative words, words of inheritance, a description of the land or property being conveyed, a habendum, and, most importantly, a statement of the grantor’s warranties or covenants.

The general warranty deed template is traditionally comprised of the following specific covenants for title:

  1. The covenant of seisin

  2. The covenant of right to convey

  3. The covenant against encumbrances

  4. The covenant for quiet enjoyment

  5. The covenant of warranty

The first two covenants are nearly the same.  The covenant of seisin and the covenant of right to convey both promise that the grantor has an estate of the quantity and quality which he claims. The covenant against encumbrances guarantees that there are no outstanding mortgages, leases, taxes, liens, easements, restrictions on the use of land, etc. on the property in question other than those specifically mentioned. The covenant for quiet enjoyment and the covenant of warranty are also usually considered together. They assure that the grantee will enjoy the property, without risk of eviction by a third party with a lawful claim of better title.

If one of these guarantees proves false, then it is referred to as a breach of covenant. For example, if a third party does claim superior title to the property in question, this is a breach of the covenant of warranty. The covenant of warranty will not be breached if the claim is unfounded, nor will it be breached if the grantee pays a third party claimant voluntarily without suit. The grantee must either be evicted or forced to surrender possession of the property in question via a court decision. In such an event, the covenant of warranty promises that the grantor will compensate the grantee for their losses.

In a special or limited warranty deed template, the grantee is only provided some of these covenants. The grantee is only protected against persons “claiming by, through, or under” the grantor. This means that the grantor does not guarantee the title against defects prior to when he acquired the property, but only against those which arose during. The special warranty deed form is simply a transference of interest, along with an assurance that the grantor has done nothing to compromise the title in the period during which he held that interest.

What Information Do You Need

Warranty deeds require several pieces of information from both the buying and the selling parties. This information is not extremely personal, and most likely, both parties will know off the top of their heads or be able to quickly reference in pertinent documents.  

  • Property address -- this includes the physical address, the property's parcel number, and its legal description. The legal description of the property is not your observation of what the property looks like. Instead, the legal description can be found on the Seller’s Deed or the location where the property’s taxes are paid.

  • Names and addresses of the parties involved in the warranty deed -- this includes the full physical addresses of both parties. Avoid listing P.O boxes.

  • The county where the seller will sign the warranty deed.

  • The name of the specific party that will receive the original recorded deed

  • If money is being exchanged for the purchase of this property. !If the title is being changed or inherited, there is often no money exchanged. However, if the property is being transferred via a traditional purchase, specify the amount.

What is a General Warranty Deed?

A warranty deed is a legal instrument used during the transfer of real estate that provides the buyer with maximum protection. The seller using the warranty deed is essentially providing the buyer with a guarantee that the property has no liens, mortgages, or other financial claims. There are different types of warranty deeds including statutory warranty deeds, general warranty deeds, full warranty deeds, grant deeds,  and special or limited warranty deeds.

Warranty Deed vs. Quitclaim Deed vs Special Warranty Deed

  • A warranty deed provides the most protection for the buyer as it fully guarantees that the property isn’t subject to existing liens, mortgages, or other types of financial claims. 

  • Although quitclaim deeds are popular choices, they provide no warranty at all to the buyer. 

  • A special warranty deed provides a guarantee that there are no claims, but it only guarantees this for a specific amount of time. Out of the three deeds, the buyer could only pursue legal remedies for claims or liens on the property if they have a warranty deed. 

When to Use a Warranty Deed?

A warranty deed is used when:

  • The seller or buyer of the property wants to guarantee that there are no liens, mortgages, or other financial claims against the property at the time the conveyance is made;

  • The ownership of the real estate is being transferred to a trust;

  • A business owners wishes to buy or sell real property; or

  • During the time in which the real estate purchase is finalized. 

How to use a Warranty Deed?

Warranty deeds are often used when the buyer is obtaining financing for the property or because they’re looking to purchase title insurance. A general warranty deed protects the buyer and places the risk of the transfer and any possible financial claim against the property directly on the seller. Because of the deed, the seller could be sued by the buyer if the warranty is breached with or without the knowledge of the buyer. It is often used in conjunction with title insurance during the purchase. 

What to Include in a Warranty Deed?

Certain information must be included when drafting a warranty deed. It requires a legal description of the property as it exists on the seller’s deed, the address of the property, and the parcel number. The legal names and addresses of the buyer and seller, including county and state, must be listed. The warranty deed must also specify who will receive the recorded deed (i.e., the buyer, the trust, or a lawyer representing one of the parties), whether money was or will be exchanged for the conveyance (if so, the amount paid for the real estate should be specified), and the county and state in which the seller signed the warranty deed. There may also be optional terms, such as whether the seller retains any interest in the property’s oil, gas, mineral, or water rights.  

The Protections of a Warranty Deed:

Warranty deeds that are not considered limited or special include the following protections for the buyer:

  • The buyer is the rightful owner of the real estate and they hold the legal right to transfer the title of the property;

  • The buyer promises that the property has no liens or other outstanding claims against it, including claims made by creditors; 

  • A promise that the title has no third-party claims for ownership; and

  • A promise that the buyer will do whatever they need to dd to ensure that the title is clear for the buyer.

How to Record a Warranty Deed

The unique feature about warranty deeds is in how they are recorded. Regardless of where the new property owner lives, the warranty deed is recorded (or filed) in the county where the property is located instead of the county where the new owner lives. Sometimes, counties have their own additional requirements, such as specific formatting requirements, that must be followed or they will not accept the document. Most counties have websites for the specific office responsible. The following website lists every county in North Carolina to make locating the register of deeds easier.

How to get a warranty deed

Before a seller can obtain a warranty deed, he or she must first ensure that the property being sold is free from liens, claims, or encumbrances. This can be done by doing a title search and a review of various public records pertaining to the home. Once you are sure that your property is free of any issues, it is then safe to obtain a warranty deed. As a seller, you want to be sure that there are no issues related to your home because you can be held liable if you sign a warranty deed and issues later arise. You can obtain warranty deeds from a local realtor’s office, or off the internet by downloading a quality template. Once the form is completed, it will need to be notarized by a notary public to legalize the document.

Signing a warranty deed

In order for a warranty deed to be legal, it must be signed in the presence of a notary public. Next, the notarized document must be filed with the city or county office responsible for recording property documents. It’s important to note that in order to take this step, all previously billed property taxes must be paid in full.

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Sample Warranty Deed


Sample Warranty Deed

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