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Types of Deeds

Warranty Deed
Often used for residential real estate sales, a Warranty Deed acts as a guarantee to the buyer that the seller has the right to sell the property, and that the property is free of debt or other liens. The seller must defend the title against any and all other claims, and compensate the buyer for any unsettled debts or problems. 

Special Warranty Deed 
Differing from a Warranty Deed, the seller's guarantee does not cover the property's entire history.  Generally, the seller only guarantees against problems or claims created during the seller's ownership of the property. A Special Warranty Deed is often used in commercial property transactions or residential real estate sales.

Quitclaim Deed
Most often used by family members, divorcing spouses, and people well-acquainted with each other,  a Quitclaim Deed allows one party to transfer property rights and claims to another party. Usually there is no monetary exchange. The extent and authority of the grantor's interest or claim to the property is unspecified, and the grantee is not provided with a guarantee. 

Bargain and Sale Deed
Typically used in residential real estate sales or sales of court-seized properties, the Bargain and Sale Deed transfers ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer. It generally does not guarantee to the buyer that the seller owns the property free and clear. A Bargain and Sale Deed resembles a Quitclaim Deed, but the property is sold rather than relinquished. 

Grant Deed
Grant Deed transfers interest in a property from the seller to the buyer in exchange for an agreed-upon price. While the Grant Deed guarantees that the seller owns the property and is legally able to sell it free of debt, it does not provide a guarantee against defects of title (unlike the Special and General Warranty Deed). This type of deed is commonly used for residential real estate sales. 

If you need more help deciding which type of property deed to use, please contact  a real estate lawyer  who can help.

General Warranty Vs. Special Warranty

Both General Warranty Deeds and Special Warranty Deeds can be used for real estate sales where a property, either residential or commercial, is transferred between parties unfamiliar with each other. Ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer with certain guarantees against future problems or claims, which protect the buyer against fraud. The difference between a Warranty Deed and Special Warranty Deed is the extent of the coverage of the warranty.


Both types of Warranty Deeds (Special and General) guarantee the buyer:

  • That the seller owns the title

  • That the seller is legally allowed to sell the property

  • That the property has not already been sold

  • That the property is free of debt or other claims (aside any mentioned in the deed)

  • That the seller is responsible for any problems/faults with the property

However, where the guarantees in a Warranty Deed cover the property's entire history, the Special Warranty Deed only covers the period of time for which the seller owned it. While the seller in a Warranty Deed must defend the title against all other claims and compensate the buyer for any unsettled debts or damages, the seller in a Special Warranty Deed is only responsible for debts and problems accrued or caused during his ownership of the property. 

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