Deed Types and Definitions

A deed is a legal document that transfers "ownership" of real property from one person to another. The type of ownership depends on the type. Some documents transfer complete ownership and warranty that ownership to the grantee. Others simply grant whatever ownership they have at the time of the transfer without granting a warranty as to ownership.


Here are the basic types of documents you will see often. It is good to have a working knowledge of these documents.

# Warranty. This transfers ownership and warrants that ownership against claims of ownership on the property.

# Special Warranty. This transfer ownership but only warrants ownership against claims of ownerhip on the property but only during the time the grantor owned the property. You will see this often in the sale of foreclosed properties.

# Quitclaim. This really transfers interest in the property. It says that whatever interest the grantor has in the property, if any, is being transferred to the grantee.

# Deed of Trust. In many jurisdictions this is used like a mortgage. The property is transferred to a Trustee who holds the property "in trust" until the mortgage is satisfied. The trustee is usually a company or an attorney.


Here are some basics requirements. It is important for you to become knowledgeable of these requirements but do not get caught up in trying to learn them all. Just become familiar with them.

# It must state it is a deed.

# It must indicate that the instrument conveys an interest in property.

# The grantor must have the legal ability to grant the interest.

# The grantee must have the legal capacity to receive it.

# It must be executed by the grantor in presence of attesting witnesses (the number of witnesses depends on the state).

# A seal must be affixed to it. The grantor and witnesses signatures are necessary.

# It must be delivered to (delivery) and accepted by the grantee (acceptance).

# It should be properly acknowledged before a competent officer, most often a notary public.

Here is a Warranty document for you to use so you can become familiar with the document. Again, please do not try and use this document. Contact an attorney, or if you feel comfortable with it, use an on-line service.

A sample Warranty Deed.