What is a deed?
A deed is a document that transfers ownership of real estate. It’s a legal description of the property that’s signed by the person transferring the property. You can’t transfer real estate without having something in writing, which is almost always a deed.
- Here’s a brief rundown of the most common types of deeds:
1) A quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership interest a person has in a property.
a) Couples going through a divorce commonly use a quitclaim deed. Here, one spouse signs all his or her rights in the couple’s real estate over to the other.
b) Quitclaim deeds are also frequently used when there is a “cloud” on title — that is, when a search reveals that a previous owner or heir has a claim to the property. The individual can sign a quitclaim deed to transfer any remaining interest (ownership).
2) A grant deed transfers ownership with certain implications — that the title hasn’t already been transferred to someone else or been encumbered, except as specified in the deed.
3) A warranty deed transfers ownership and explicitly promises the buyer that the transferor has good title to the property, meaning it is free of liens or claims of ownership.
- In turn, the transferor guarantees that he or she will compensate the buyer if that turns out to be wrong.
- The warranty deed may also address other problems with the transaction.
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