What is a Warranty Deed?

Vickie Christensen
Vickie Christensen
New homebuyers receive a warranty deed after purchasing a house.
New homebuyers receive a warranty deed after purchasing a house.

Also known as a grant deed, a warranty deed is a legal document where the seller, or grantor, guarantees to the buyer, or grantee, that the real property being purchased is free from any mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances. If it is a general warranty deed, the guarantee extends back to the property’s origin. In contrast, if it is a specific warranty deed, the seller guarantees that there are no mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances while he or she has owned the property.

A warranty deed thus provides a method of transferring ownership or title in real estate that offers protection to the buyer. This is the case because the seller warrants, or guarantees, that he or she legally owns the property. An individual purchasing property or a bank lending money for the seller to purchase the property typically does not want to discover that the property has tax or mechanical liens or outstanding mortgages after the transaction is complete. If a seller provides a warranty deed and then the buyer later discovers an unpaid lien or other financial encumbrance, the buyer can seek legal action against the seller. Because sellers could die, have limited financial resources, or declare bankruptcy, real estate transactions involving warranty deeds often are accompanied by title searches and title insurance.

Typically, a title search or abstract of title is completed by a title company where researchers examine public documents — usually county documents of real property. There are three significant areas that are examined. First, the exact location and legal ownership is established; second, the property is reviewed for any outstanding mortgages, liens, or judgments that would prevent the buyer from obtaining a clear title. Titles are generally listed after the research is completed as good, marketable, doubtful, or bad. Third, the title search provides details on easements or other restrictions on the property.

Along with having a warranty deed, homebuyers usually purchase title insurance to assure a clear title. If lenders are providing mortgage funds, the lenders will require this insurance; the fee is paid only once, generally at closing on a property, for title insurance. Title insurance is available for owners, buyers, and lenders. Owners are assured that the promise made in the warranty deed on clear title has been researched, while lenders are assured that there are not judgments, liens, or other encumbrances on the property. Some extended title policies also covers other areas, such as building permit violations or covenant restrictions.

Discussion Comments


My sister transferred the house to me, I have a warranty deed and then I found out that my brother-in-law (sister had died) had sold the house to another party. I have the warranty deed and they moved in today. The house is in my name. He took the check and left town and there are strangers living in the house. What can I do?


I would like to know if there is any deed that I can sign. My wife has left me to move nearer to her family and now is seeking divorce. Last year, I helped my brother and his wife to purchase a house by adding my name to his mortgage. I did not help financially. What can I do to prevent my wife from having any claim to their house? Any suggestions?


Cafe41-I know that a deed in lieu of foreclosure means that the seller is giving back ownership interest to the bank in lieu of foreclosure proceedings.

This type of arrangement is known as a voluntary foreclosure which banks prefer because they same money in legal proceedings.

A statutory warranty deed states that the seller has a right to sell his property and that the title is free of liens. While some clauses of this deed could be omitted, it generally allows the buyer to safely buy the property without worry.

A joint tenancy warranty deed gives the rights of surviorship to both parties should one of the owners dies.


A quit claim warranty deed is often used to transfer ownership from one person to another. Many times this occurs during a divorce settlement in which one party signs over the remaining interest in the home to the other party.

A quitclaim warranty deed is the fastest way to transfer ownership and among the most common.

A warranty deed forms are used when offering a general warranty deed forms or a limited warranty deed.

A general warranty deed means that the seller is legally allowed to sell the property. A limited warranty deed offers the buyer some protection and is covered during the portion of time that the seller owned the property.

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    • New homebuyers receive a warranty deed after purchasing a house.
      By: Monkey Business
      New homebuyers receive a warranty deed after purchasing a house.