If you have ever bought or sold a home, one important document that you will come across is the property deed. A deed legally transfers property from one person to another. The transfer must be in writing; no specific forms are required, but the transfer cannot be done orally. A property deed must include several basic elements in order for it to be valid.
Elements of a Deed
The deed must identify the parties involved: the buyer and the seller. The property in question must also be adequately described so that there is no confusion as to what is being bought or sold. In addition, a deed should have the required legal language. Most deeds use a standard template that includes the appropriate language to transfer the property from one party to another. It must also be signed by the seller(s). Once signed, it must be delivered to and accepted by the seller in order for it to be valid.
What a Deed Does
Besides legally transfer property to a party, a deed also provides the buyer with certain protections. A general warranty deed offers the most protection. It offers legal covenant and warranties, including the following:
- Covenant of seisin – This guarantees that the buyer owns the property and has the legal right to sell it.
- Covenant of quiet enjoyment – This guarantees the buyer’s right to enjoy the property without disturbances caused by a defective title.
- Covenant against encumbrances – This guarantees that the property is free of liens and other debts unless stated in the deed.
- Covenant of further assurance – This guarantees that the seller will produce any additional documents required to make the title valid.
A special warranty offers a bit less protection. It only offers guarantees during the time that the seller owned the home, which means that if the seller was not the first owner of the home, the rest of the home’s history will not be guaranteed.
A quitclaim deed offers no protection whatsoever. No promises are made regarding the status of the title. If the title is good, then the buyer basically gets the protection that a general warranty deed offers. However, if the title is defective, the buyer must accept it without the right to legal recourse against the seller. This type of deed is most commonly used through real estate transactions that involve family members or spouses who are going through a divorce.
Because the deed to your home will affect your rights, be sure to review it with a real estate professional or lawyer if you have any concerns.
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Property deeds can be confusing. If you are buying or selling a home, make sure that your rights are protected. We can create a smooth transaction. Contact us today to see why we are the trusted choice for the GTA’s home loan needs.