In order to transfer title to real property from one person to another, some type of written instrument is required based on a doctrine known as the Statute of Frauds. The written instrument that is most commonly used to effectuate such transfers is known as a deed. The law governing deeds varies from state to state, and, in fact, many states have set forth standardized forms for use as deeds in their law. Generally speaking, however, parties to a transaction that involves a transfer of real property use one of three types of deeds to effectuate the transfer, a quitclaim deed, a grant deed, or a warranty deed. The type of deed that is used by the parties to a real estate transaction will depend, in large part, upon the nature of the transaction.
With a quitclaim deed, the grantor evidences his or her intent to convey whatever interest the grantor holds in the property. By the language used in a quitclaim deed, the grantor makes no representation as to the extent of his or her interest in the property.
The use of a grant deed is quite common in the United States. By a grant deed, the grantor evidences his or her intent to “grant” or “convey” the property to the grantee. Either by law or by implication, a grantor executing a grant deed represents that he or she owns the property at issue and that the property is free of encumbrances.
A warranty deed provides certain covenants of title and is the most common deed in use in the United States today. While the laws governing warranty deeds differ from state to state, generally speaking, the covenants of title are as follows:
covenant of seisin — the grantor warrants that he or she is the owner of the property;
covenant of the right to convey — the grantor represents that he or she has the right to convey the property as of the date he or she is being asked to do so;
covenant against encumbrances — the grantor represents that the property is free of encumbrances, liens, or servitudes;
covenant of quiet enjoyment — the grantor represents to the grantee that no party with better title will interfere with the grantee’s quiet enjoyment of the property in the future;
covenant of warranty — the grantor promises to warrant and defend the grantee in the event any conflicting claims to the property arise in the future; and
covenant of further assurances — the grantor represents that he or she will do whatever is necessary in the future to establish title in the grantee.