A deed is a legal instrument that transfers real estate from one person or organization to another. A warranty deed is a type of deed that both conveys title and guarantees that the title is good and clear of any liens or other encumbrances.
As with all deeds, the person transferring the real estate by warranty deed is usually called a grantor and the person receiving the real estate is referred to as a grantee. A warranty deed is distinguished from a quit claim deed by a set of guarantees that the grantor makes to the grantee. These guarantees, known as “warranties of title,” typically include the following:
- Covenant of seisin – The grantor guarantees that he owns the real estate and has the right to convey it.
- Covenant against encumbrances – The grantor guarantees that there are no encumbrances (things like leases, easements, liens, or mortgages) that would prevent the grantee from being able to use the real estate.
- Covenant of quiet enjoyment – The grantor guarantees that the grantee will not lose the real estate to someone with superior title to the real estate.
- Covenant of warranty – The grantor guarantees to defend the title against anyone who unlawfully claims title to the real estate.
- Covenant of further assurances – The grantor promises to do whatever the grantor can to help the grantee establish clear title.
Fortunately, this sounds more complicated than it is. All of these archaic legal concepts are wrapped into the definition of a warranty deed. It is not necessary for the deed to recite each of these covenants. If the deed states that the grantor warrants title, the deed is a warranty deed. As long as the form of deed is correct, the warranties are built in.