What Are the Types of Deeds to Convey Title in Real Estate?

The vast majority of real estate transactions use four major types of deeds to convey title. The difference in the types of deeds is primarily the covenants and warranties conveyed by the grantor to the grantee. They vary from few-to-none to significant warranties conveyed in a general warranty deed.

Deeds can be very short in length, under a page, or they can be several pages long with many restrictions, covenants and special granting clauses.  In a residential transaction the deed is normally prepared by an attorney.

The General Warranty Deed

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The General Warranty Deed provides the highest level of protection for the buyer. There are significant covenants or warranties conveyed by the grantor to the buyer/grantee. More

The Special Warranty Deed

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The Special Warranty Deed doesn't provide as much protection for the buyer as does the general warranty deed. The grantor provides fewer warranties. More

The Bargain and Sale Deed

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With the Bargain and Sale deed, the buyer gets no protection from encumbrances. This deed type has very specialized uses. More

The Quitclaim Deed

The Quitclaim Deed provides the least protection for the buyer of the four main types. Its uses are very limited.

Deeds Aren't the Only Limitations to Ownership Rights

As times change, so do real estate deals, property uses and the way people deal with their neighbors. There are often restrictions on ownership in deeds. However, these days the vast majority of restrictions and covenants related to use of property are in homeowner association, HOA, documents and condominium association rules. Subdivisions place a great many restrictions on how you can enjoy your property. Most are developed and recorded when the subdivision is first formed, but they can also be added over time as the HOA meets and votes. One of the clauses you need to be aware of in HOA declarations is the Assessments area. It can be pages long. When common areas, from sidewalks to swimming pools, need repairs or major work, the rules will specify how those costs will be divided up among owners as assessments. Creation of Assessments. There are hereby created assessments for Association expenses as the Board may specifically authorize from time to time. There shall be four (4) types of assessments: (a) General Assessments to fund Common Expenses for the general benefit of all Lots; (b) Neighborhood Assessments for Neighborhood Expenses benefiting only Lots within a particular Neighborhood or Neighborhoods; (c) Special Assessments as described in Section 8.2; and (d) Specific Assessments as described in Section 8.3. Each Owner, by accepting a deed or entering into a contract of sale for any portion of the Properties, is deemed to covenant and agree to pay these assessments. You have no choice, as failure to pay will result in at the least a lien against your property. There are some really crazy HOA rules out there, as they are created by people, and there are crazy people out there too. Some examples, and these are real: 1. A limit on the number of rose bushes in a yard. 2. Pets' feet must never touch the floor of common areas. 3. You can't post for sale signs in the yard, only discreetly in a window. 4. Fines for not maintaining a green lawn with grass no taller than 3 inches. There are more, but you're getting the idea. You should never buy a home without careful examination of the HOA Declarations of Covenants and Restrictions. If you're a real estate agent, make sure to stress to your buyers that they read them, as you have no idea what they may plan to do on their property that isn't allowed. The problem is that you're at the mercy of the rules. A lien or lawsuit is coming your way if you do not abide by them. Most are related to the exterior look of the home. Many require use of specific roofing, colors, siding, etc. They specify what can be seen through windows, exterior shutter styles and materials, and more. You have certain rights of ownership of property, but always be sure to know what documents are recorded at the courthouse with limitations on those rights.