What is a General Warranty Deed?

It is an important consideration for home buying and home selling, as it assures that the person you’re buying the property from is the real owner of the property, and not someone fraudulently posing as the owner. A general warranty deed is a legal document and if it is fraudulent, it can be contested in the court of law.

Definition

A deed where the grantor (or seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has the legal right to sell it to you. The guarantee is not limited only to the time the grantor owned the property but extends back further to the origins of the property.

The meaning can be simplified by stating that the general warranty deed is a guarantee that the seller gives to the buyer, that he indeed owns the property and that the property does not have any lien or liabilities associated with it.

The rationale behind getting this legal document from the seller for the buyer is quite easy to understand. A lot of people can be bluffed by making a quick sale of property which is not yours, or has a substantial amount of liability attached to it. So by claiming the ownership of the property, not only does a fraudulent seller sell the house and make a tidy profit, but also he can also abscond leaving the new homeowner in a soup.

Hence more and more home buyers are careful to ensure that they receive the general warranty deed, so that they are assured that the property they purchase for residence or as investment property is free from any trouble.

Form

The deed usually contains 6 covenants or ‘promises’ which the seller makes to the buyer when selling property. These covenants can be categorized in two basic classes based on what they cover: The present covenants and the future covenants.

Present Covenants
Covenant of Seisin & Covenant of Right to Convey
Seisin means possession. These two covenants mean that the seller is in possession of the land and also has the right to sell to another party.

Covenant Against Encumbrances
With this covenant, the seller assures the buyer that there are no encumbrances or liabilities against the property.

Future Covenants
Covenant of Warranty and Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
These two covenants are said to be future covenants as they are related to occurrences which may take place in the future. With these two covenants, the seller protects the buyer against any future troubles or claims against the property that may arise out of the past dealings of the seller.

Covenant of Further Assurances
This covenant ensures the buyer that if there is something omitted that would otherwise be required to pass on the title, he will do everything to ensure that the title is passed on to the buyer, irrespective of the omission.

If you go through sample deeds, you will see that they need to be notarized and need to be signed in the presence of witness. The deed is a legal document so you would perhaps like to seek the help of a lawyer to draft it.

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