The purchase of real property generally comes with some type of warranty deed. Warranty deeds provide a certain extent of protection against defects in title. Three of the most common types of deeds are:
- General Warranty Deeds and Grant Deeds;
- Limited Warranty Deeds; and
- Non-Warranty Deeds.
In a General Warranty Deed, the seller usually gives four warranties regarding the land to the buyer. Specifically, the seller warrants to the buyer that:
- The seller has the right to convey the real estate;
- The seller will defend the title to the real estate against the claims of all persons;
- The seller has proper “seisin.” Seisin basically means that the seller warrants that the seller owns all of the rights in the real estate; and
- Aside from those encumbrances listed in the deed, there are no other encumbrances against the real estate.
a. An encumbrance could be just about anything that impacts (usually negatively) the use or value of the property. For example, an encumbrance could be an undisclosed easement or restrictive covenant that control how the real estate may be used.
1. The seller personally has not done anything to the title that the seller received; and
a. As you might have noticed, this is a very limited warranty in comparison to the broad General Warranty Deed wherein the seller warrants that the seller not only owns the property, but also owns all of the rights in the property.
2. The seller will defend the title to the property against persons making claims based on the prior actions of the seller, but no one else.
a. Here, unlike in a General Warranty Deed, the seller is not warranting that it will defend title to the real estate against the claims of all persons.
How to Protect Yourself
First, before you purchase the property, conduct a title examination on the property to discover any encumbrances or title problems. Next, hire an attorney to assist with reviewing the title examination. There is always a chance that an attorney will discover possible unrecorded easements, or other encumbrances, by reviewing the examination. Most importantly, shop the market for title insurance. Although title insurance does not guarantee that the property will be free of any title defects, it does provide insurance to correct the problem or to compensate you if the problem cannot be corrected.
Schorr Law has experience with Grant Deeds, quitclaim deeds and all sorts of title issues and can assist you in the process of making sure you get good title or to clear title to undisclosed claims. To inquire about a free 30-minute consultation contact us by phone at (310) 954-1877 or by email at email@example.com.
By Real Estate Attorney, Randy Aguirre.
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