The importance of using the right document during property sales or transfer can never be overemphasized. One of the most important document types is the property deed. This article comprehensively discusses how to get a property deed, alongside all other vital information you should know about the process.
What Is a Property Deed?
Simply put, a property deed is a legal document indicating the rightful owner of real estate or a piece of property. Property deeds are used to transfer property ownership from one person to another after the various contractual and financial requirements have been met, typically laid out in a purchase and sale agreement .
Otherwise called a house deed, a property deed also identifies the seller of the property, also called the grantor, and the buyer, the grantee. Both the grantor and grantee must sign the property deed for a successful ownership transfer; otherwise, the process is invalid. Other processes that validate a property deed, apart from the signing of both parties, are notarization of the deed and filing it in a public record.
A property deed helps dispute resolution, identifying the rightful current owner of the property. It also helps keep track of how frequently the property’s ownership has been transferred.
Here is an article about the deeds.
How To Get a Property Deed – Step by Step
If you’re involved in a real estate transaction, you may be required to get a property deed. Below is a detailed and easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to get a property deed:
Step 1: Get a Deed Form.
Obtain a property deed form at the recorder office of your local county, a law library, or an office supply store. There are different types of property deeds; you can use either the quitclaim deed or the grant deed .
Step 2: Legally Describe the Property.
People often mistake their property’s physical address as its legal description. However, it’s not. Your property’s legal description includes the lot number, boundaries, any easements, etc. Call the local appraisal district or check your property’s tax statements for the exact legal description to use.
Step 3: Identify the Parties Involved.
Parties typically involved include the grantor and grantee. Enter their names in the respective spaces indicated in the deed form. Again, the owner of the property is regarded as the grantor, while the buyer or the beneficiary of the property transfer is called the grantee.
Step 4: Date and Signature.
Create your signature in the presence of a notary public. Both parties must sign. Without the grantor’s signature, the deed isn’t valid. Some states require a witness’ signature as well. The date of signing must also be included, as specified.
Step 5: File the Property Deed.
Finally, file the property deed at the local county courthouse for recording. While submitting, ensure you include the Preliminary Change of Ownership form. After recording, your deed will be sent to you via mail. Filing and recording your deed makes it viewable by the general public.
Here is an article on how to get a property deed.
What’s Typically Included in a Property Deed?
Knowing what to include in a property deed is key to making sure you go through the process correctly and without issues. Having understood the step-by-step process involved in getting a deed, next is a detailed list of what you should be included.
Generally, the property's legal description and both parties' signatures must be included in a property deed. Also, to ensure the legal enforceability and validity of a property deed, a deed must meet the following requirements:
- On its face, the property deed must state that it is a deed. Phrases such as "this deed" "executed as a deed" are often used.
- A property deed must declare that it conveys or awards certain special privileges or rights to someone. That is, a grantor is granting a grantee ownership rights of a property. The grantor must have the legal rights to do so, and the grantee must have the legal capacity to handle such privileges - otherwise, the property deed is invalid.
- The deed must be notarized.
- The deed must have a seal.
- The property must be delivered and accepted by the grantee for validation. Otherwise, the deed remains invalid.
Here is an article on what is included in a property deed.
Who Holds the Deeds to Property?
The original property deeds are typically held by real estate lawyers who acted when the property was last sold. Also, your mortgage provider may retain the deeds to your property if you have any mortgage on the property.
A copy of your property deed is also sent to your mail for acceptance and validation. The conditions guiding your acceptance are often called “covenants.”
Types of Property Deeds
There are various types of property deeds. Knowing the various types of property deed is a strong prerequisite to understanding how to get a property deed.
Property deeds are generally categorized as private or official. While private deeds involve business entities and individuals, official property deeds are typically executed pursuant to legal proceedings or a court.
Alternatively, property deeds are classified based on the title warranty type provided by the property’s owner. The types of property deeds based on this classification include:
General Warranty Deed
This type of property deed offers the highest level of protection to property buyers of beneficiaries of property transfers. A general warranty deed requires grantors to make legally binding promises, otherwise called covenants, to protect the grantee against possible disputes.
The covenants included in a general warranty deed are the covenant of seisin – which confirms that the grantor has the legal right to convey the property; covenant of quiet enjoyment; covenant against encumbrances – confirming that the property is free of burdens and debts, except if otherwise stated in the deed; covenant of further assurance – confirming that the grantor will deliver any document needed in the future.
Special Warranty Deed
The special warranty property deed offers relatively lesser protection to grantees. Unlike the general warranty deed, the special warranty deed only requires that the grantor warrants they only received the property’s title and haven’t done anything to cause defect throughout their ownership of the property.
Typically, the general warranty deed is recommended over the special warranty deed, mainly because of grantees' less protection.
This offers grantees the lowest level of protection. Otherwise called the non-warranty deed, the quitclaim property deed conveys only the grantor interest, without any promise or warranty about the quality of the property title.
Quitclaims are often used when a grantor doesn’t know the exact status of the title, whether it has any defect or otherwise. For titles with zero defects, the quitclaim deed is equal to the general warranty deed. However, if there are any defects, the grantee doesn’t have any legal stance against the grantor.
Special Purpose Deed
The last type of property deed under consideration is the special purpose deed. This type of deed is often used in court proceedings where the grantor acts in any official capacity. Special purpose deeds typically don’t offer grantee protection and can be categorized as quitclaim deeds.
Executor’s Deed, Tax Deed, Administrator’s Deed, Sheriff’s Deed, Gift Deed, and others are typical types of Special Purpose Deeds.
Here is an article on the types of property deeds.
Get Help with a Property Deed
A property deed must accompany buying, selling, or transferring real property to confirm its validity. Are you planning to buy a property, or are you a beneficiary of a property transfer and unsure of how to get a property deed?
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