A warranty deed is when a person selling a plot of land, a house, or a property, can guarantee they own the rights and title of the land and that this person is legally allowed to sell the property to you. Warranty deeds are not the same as quitclaims as a quitclaim is when the seller believes they own the rights to the land but cannot guarantee a clean title.
The purpose of the warranty deed is to give you some assurance as a home buyer that you will be able to buy the property without any issues. But even with a guaranteed warranty deed in place, it is still wise to have a title search done by a reputable and independent title company. By having the title company do a complete search for potential problems you have a second set of eyes and don’t need to just take the seller’s word for it.
Warranty deeds are normally transferred from the seller to the buyer during the escrow process, and if everything follows regular practices the transfer will be recorded by the county recorder’s office. This is one of the places a reputable title company will look to try and find if there will be any obstacles with you buying and owning the land. And that brings us to the next phrase you’re likely going to see, a statutory deed.
A statutory deed is very similar to a warranty deed, but the difference between a statutory deed and a warranty deed is that statutory deeds do not guarantee ownership. Instead statutory deeds “assume ownership” like a quitclaim. Likely some research was done or there is a very good and reasonable belief the seller does have the right to sell their property to you, but it is not guaranteed the seller has the ownership of the title and it will be a clean transfer.
Warranty deeds and statutory deeds both provide some guarantee that the property can be transferred to you whereas a quitclaim deed is not as protective. If there is a long lost heir, liens against the property or other obstacles, quitclaims will not protect you from these like a warranty or statutory deed will. And there are more ways having a warranty deed can help you more than a statutory deed or quitclaim.
If zoning laws changed or part of the property was not recorded properly in the past, someone may be able to make a claim or you may wind up having to rethink how to use part of your land. But this can be the case with any property and is another read why you’ll want a title search done vs. just relying on a guaranteed warranty deed. It’s that piece-of-mind that a third party did a deep-dive into the property’s history to help ensure you will become the rightful title holder.
If you are the seller and are giving a guaranteed or statutory warranty deed, you need to double check your ownership before selling your property. If something does go wrong you may find yourself tied up in lawsuits for many years. That is why you must always be accurate, and if you cannot then a quitclaim is likely the safer route when selling your real estate.
Now you know the differences between quitclaims, warranty and statutory deeds as well as what they are and what they mean.