What Is a Grantor?

Grantor Explained In Less Than 5 Minutes

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"Grantor" is a legal term used in real estate transactions to name the seller of a property. The grantor transfers title to a grantee through a legal tool known as a deed. 

Find out more about the term "grantor" and what it means.

Definition and Examples of a Grantor

A grantor is a person who transfers ownership of real estate to another person or entity. A grantor can convey many types of deeds. Grantors are named in both deeds and mortgage documents. The type of deeds that can be conveyed depends on the state where the grantor lives. Each type of deed has its own rules and guidelines; what's recognized in Iowa might not be accepted in California.

When you sell your home, you sign the deed to the buyer. You're conveying (transferring) ownership of your home to the buyer. This makes you the grantor and the buyer the grantee in the transaction.

How Does Granting Ownership Work?

A grantor transfers property ownership by granting it to another person through a property deed. Transferring ownership in a real estate transaction is complicated due to the laws that are involved.

If you're selling a home, you'll likely need a real estate lawyer to help you draw up the necessary contracts so that you grant the home to the buyer properly. You'll fill out the paperwork for the transaction, which includes a property deed transfer request to the buyer, who is the new owner. You've assumed the role of the grantor by selling your home to someone else.

Buyers and sellers should always sit down with their lawyers ahead of time to discuss the type of deeds they will use to convey or receive property and why.

A deed must identify both the grantor and grantee and include a full description of the asset in question. Deeds with murky language can confuse and pave the way for one or both parties to file a lawsuit.

Closing attorneys usually ensure that deeds documenting the transfer of a title are recorded at the county courthouse in the county where the property is located. This serves as proof that the transfer was legal.

Luckily, deeds are not set in stone for all time. The grantor or grantee can modify them to include covenants and other rules stating how an asset can be used, sold, or reclaimed. You should always make sure to obtain a title insurance policy when you're buying a home, just in case.

In addition to real estate deeds, there are other documents that require the identity of these parties as well. Landlords and renters have grantor and grantee relationships; sellers and buyers of motor vehicles have one as well.

You'll also see grantors and grantees if you ever deal with wills and financing contracts. Certain business arrangements and partnerships can require a grantor and grantee relationship, but this isn't as common.

Types of Deeds

Deeds can convey and confirm many issues. The most common four types of deeds are general, special, grant, and quitclaim.

You may run into mortgage deeds, bargain and sale deeds, or deeds of trust during other financial transactions.

General Warranty Deed

A grantor who conveys a "general warranty deed" confirms that the title is good and can be sold. They claim that no liens exist on the title that might prevent them from selling the home, and they have the legal right to sell it.

General warranty deeds protect grantees (the person buying the home) against claims to the title dating back to a home's origins. They offer buyers the most protection in a real estate sale, but not every state allows them.

Special Warranty Deed

A "special warranty deed" grantor takes no blame for any claims placed on the title for periods before which they owned the property. However, grantees are not as protected when buying a home with a special warranty deed. As a result, there's always the chance that an issue the seller wasn't aware of would need to be dealt with.

Grant Deed

The grantor of a "grant deed" transfers a home with a guarantee that they have not sold the house to someone else at the same time. They also guarantee no other liens or encumbrances on it other than those they have already told the grantee about (meaning it's unencumbered). A grant deed contains the names of the grantor and grantee. It also describes what's being transferred (e.g., the tract number, lot number, address).

Quitclaim Deed

A "quitclaim deed" grantor makes no guarantee that they have any legal right to convey the property. They might not even legally own it. For example, you could buy the Statue of Liberty and "take ownership" via a quitclaim deed. However, this doesn't mean you'll own it because the seller neither owned nor had the right to transfer it to you.

Quitclaim deeds are not used by grantors and grantees who don't know each other very well. Instead, this type of deed is most often used among family members to pass estates to heirs; or in divorce cases where one spouse gives up ownership of an asset to the other.

Key Takeaways

  • A grantor is a person who is granting, conveying, or selling an asset to another person.
  • All property deeds should include the grantor's and grantee's identities, as well as a full legal description of the property.
  • Deeds can usually be modified by either the grantor or the grantee.