The 7 Deeds in Real Estate: Types and Protection Levels

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In real estate, several types of deeds are used to transfer property ownership from one party to another. Each type of deed offers different levels of protection and warranties to the buyer. Here are the common types of deeds:

  1. General Warranty Deed: This is the most common type of deed and offers the highest level of protection to the buyer. In a general warranty deed, the seller guarantees that they have clear title to the property and can legally transfer it. The seller also warrants against any defects in title, even if the issues arose from previous owners. This deed provides the most comprehensive protection against future claims to the property.
  2. Special Warranty Deed: In a special warranty deed, the seller guarantees the title only against defects that occurred during their ownership of the property. This means that the seller does not warrant against any defects that existed before they owned the property. Special warranty deeds provide less protection compared to general warranty deeds.
  3. Quitclaim Deed: A quitclaim deed transfers whatever interest the seller has in the property without making any warranties about the quality of title. This type of deed is often used in situations where property is transferred without a traditional sale, such as between family members or in divorce proceedings. Quitclaim deeds provide the least amount of protection to the buyer, as the seller does not guarantee that they actually own the property or have good title.
  4. Bargain and Sale Deed: This type of deed implies that the seller has the right to sell the property but makes no warranties against encumbrances. It’s essentially a middle ground between a general warranty deed and a quitclaim deed.
  5. Executor’s Deed/Administrator’s Deed: These deeds are used to transfer property from an estate to a buyer. An executor’s deed is used when the property belonged to someone who died with a will, while an administrator’s deed is used when the deceased did not leave a will.
  6. Sheriff’s Deed: A sheriff’s deed is used to transfer property that has been seized through foreclosure, a court order, or a tax sale.
  7. Trustee’s Deed: This type of deed is used when property held in a trust is transferred.

The choice of deed used in a real estate transaction depends on the circumstances of the sale and the level of protection desired by both the buyer and the seller. It’s important to consult with a real estate attorney or a knowledgeable real estate professional to determine which type of deed is appropriate for a specific transaction.

TL;DR

Real estate deeds vary in the level of protection they offer to buyers. A General Warranty Deed provides the highest protection by guaranteeing clear title and defending against all title defects, even from previous owners. Special Warranty Deeds offer limited protection, warranting against defects only during the seller’s ownership. Quitclaim Deeds provide the least protection as they transfer the seller’s interest without any warranties about the title. Other deeds like Bargain and Sale Deeds, Executor’s/Administrator’s Deeds, Sheriff’s Deeds, and Trustee’s Deeds serve specific purposes based on estate transfer, foreclosure, or trust property transfer. The choice of deed depends on the buyer’s need for title assurance and the circumstances of the transaction.


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