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Property Deed Review

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A property deed is a legal document that establishes ownership of real property and transfers the interest in a property from a grantor to a grantee. The deed typically includes information about the property, the names of the parties involved in the transaction, and any conditions or restrictions on its use. There are several types of deeds that can be used to convey property, and each comes with advantages and disadvantages.

What is a Property Deed Review?

A property deed review should occur before two parties finalize the transfer of property using a deed. Before signing the deed, both parties need to carefully review the details and provisions in the document to ensure it is accurate, complete, and legally valid.

During a property deed review, pay close attention to the following details:

  • Names of parties. Ensure that the names of the grantor and grantee are accurate, and the parties are correctly identified.
  • Property description. The deed should include the legal description and address of the property. Make sure the description matches the property in question.
  • Language used for conveyance. The deed must clearly and expressly convey the title from the grantor to the grantee.
  • Exceptions or encumbrances. For deeds other than a quitclaim deed, the document must identify any exceptions, reservations, or encumbrances that may impact the property's ownership or use.
  • Legal requirements. Different jurisdictions have different legal requirements for deeds and the transfer of property. When you are reviewing the deed, make sure that it abides by all your jurisdiction’s requirements. For example, some jurisdictions require signatures to be notarized and witnessed while others do not.
  • Signatures and Notarization. Ensure that the deed is properly executed and notarized. This will verify that all necessary parties have signed the deed and that the signatures are authentic.

If you are unsure what to look for when you are reviewing a deed, it is best to consult with a real estate lawyer who has specialized knowledge surrounding deeds and the transfer of property. A lawyer will ensure that the property deed is free from errors and legally valid.

What Purpose is Served by Recording a Deed?

A deed does not need to be recorded to be valid; however, there are several important purposes served by recording a deed.

Reasons a party should always record a property deed include:

  1. Constructive notice. Recording a deed provides public notice that the ownership of the property has been transferred. This allows other parties interested in the property to identify the ownership of the property when conducting a title search.
  2. Protecting the buyer's interest : If a buyer doesn’t record the deed, they could risk another party making a claim to the property. This is especially important in jurisdictions that give priority to parties who file deeds first.
  3. Establishing priority : If there is an issue with the property like a lien or multiple claims of ownership, a recorded deed has higher priority in the dispute than a non-recorded deed.

Recording a deed is an essential step in the property ownership process. A properly recorded deed provides legal protection, establishes ownership rights, and creates a reliable public record of property transfers.

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What is the Highest Quality Deed?

The three most common types of property deeds are a general warranty deed, special warranty deed, and quitclaim deed. The deed that is the highest quality deed is the general warranty deed.

General Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed provides grantees with the highest level of protection. When this type of deed is executed, the grantor warrants the title of the property against all defects even if the grantor did not cause the defects. Some examples of warranties granted by a general warranty deed include the covenant of the right to convey which warrants that the grantor has the right the convey the property and the covenant against encumbrances which warrants there are no undisclosed encumbrances on the property.

Special Warranty Deed

A special warranty deed provides a lesser level of protection compared to a general warranty deed. It guarantees that the grantor only warrants against claims or encumbrances that occurred during their ownership of the property. It does not cover any potential issues that may have arisen before the grantor's ownership.

Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed provides little to no protection for the transferee. This deed transfers the grantor’s interest in the property to the grantee without any warranties or guarantees. It does not provide any assurances regarding the property's ownership history or potential encumbrances. Quitclaim Deeds are often used in non-sale situations, such as transferring property between family members or correcting title issues.

What Type of Deed is Most Secure?

A general warranty deed is the most secure deed because it provides the grantee with the highest level of protection. This deed provides specific warranties and guarantees from the grantor to the grantee. Unlike a special warranty deed, a general warranty deed covers the entire history of the property.

A general warranty deed provides protection against any prior claims or defects in the property's title. The grantor is legally obligated to defend the grantee against any legal challenges to the property's ownership arising from before the grantor's ownership.

By using a general warranty deed, the buyer receives a clear and complete chain of title, which documents the property's ownership history. This chain of title helps establish a strong legal foundation for the buyer's ownership rights and facilitates future transactions involving the property.

6 Covenants in a General Warranty Deed

The covenants in a general warranty are:

  1. Covenant of seisin. Warrants that the deed describes the land in question. It assures the grantee that the grantor has legal title and possession of the property.
  2. Covenant of right to convey. Warrants that the grantor has the right to convey the property and that the property has not been transferred to someone else.
  3. Covenant against encumbrances. Warrants that there are no undisclosed encumbrances on the property that could limit its value. It ensures that there are no outstanding claims or debts associated with the property.
  4. Covenant of quiet enjoyment. The grantor promises that the grantee's ownership and possession of the property will not be disturbed by any third-party claims. This covenant protects the grantee's right to use and enjoy the property without interference.
  5. Covenant of warranty. The grantor promises to defend the grantee against any lawful claims to the property's title. It provides the grantee with recourse if they are ever faced with a title dispute.
  6. Covenant of further assurance. This covenant obligates the grantor to take any necessary actions to perfect the title if any defects or deficiencies are discovered in the future. It ensures that the grantee will receive a complete and marketable title to the property.

These covenants collectively provide the grantee with comprehensive protection and assurance regarding the title and ownership of the property being conveyed.

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