Quit Claim Deeds, Warranty Deeds and More

What are the differences between Warranty Deed, Certificate of Title, Final Judgment Quieting Title, Tax Deed and Quit Claim Deed?

1 Answer

Although the features and functions between various real estate deeds and titles can be a little confusing, they are necessary to establish legal real estate ownership and its proper transference or conveyance.

Basically, a real estate deed is a legal document conveying or assigning title to a property. A real estate title is a legal document establishing ownership (showing evidence) of a property. Both work in concert with the other. Before one can transfer or convey a deed to another, he or she must show legal title to the property.

Let's discuss some of the more common types of deeds and titles. They include Certificate of Title, Final Judgment Quieting Title, Warranty Deed, Tax Deed, Quitclaim Deed, and Grant Deed.

Many people associate a certificate of title with cars, trucks, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles. But it can also be applied to real estate ownership. When you need to show legal evidence of ownership, in this case real estate property, a Certificate of Title is required. As mentioned above, before one can transfer a deed, he must show Certificate of Title to the property. A title company or attorney writes the Certificate of Title regarding the property title's status. Any liens against the property are also evidenced.

Oftentimes, a title may have an encumbrance associated with it. For example, there may be several undisclosed liens, liabilities, or false descriptions regarding title to a specific real estate property. A final judgment from a court is used to remove these encumbrances on a title. This judgment "quiets" the title or re-establishes title, free of any stains. This is called a Final Judgment Quieting Title.

A situation may arise where a grantor or seller needs to guarantee that she is the holder of title to a specific piece of real estate. A General Warranty Deed guarantees that she is the clear title holder of the property, and she can sell it to a prospective buyer. It not only guarantees current ownership of the property but details the history of the property. A common type of deed, a Warranty Deed validates the grantor title and protects against any title defects in the prospective buyer's eyes.

Failure to pay real property, income, or other taxes may result in a tax lien. A tax lien is used to expedite delinquent tax payments. If payment is still not received after several notices, the property may be held by the local government agency and sold at public auction or foreclosure sale. Upon purchase of the property at the sale, the buyer or investor is conveyed a Tax Deed on the property.

Another situation may arise when a grantor's (owner's) interest in a specific piece of real estate wants to transfer the deed to someone else. A Quitclaim Deed clears title to the property. The grantor or deed holder gives up his interest in the property. The grantee receives the property and assumes all risks. No guaranties or warranties are made on the title. (This may be a case where a Warranty Deed is needed.) Several Web sites offer free quit claim deed forms on the Internet.

A Grant Deed is different than a Quitclaim Deed in that a Grant Deed contains evidence that the person conveying the property is the actual, legal title holder, free from encumbrances.