A special warranty deed guarantees that nothing occurred during the seller’s ownership of a property that would have broken the chain of title.
- Conveying title to a piece of property that you can be sure was not broken during your term of ownership
- Conveying real property through an estate.
A deed is the legal instrument that proves ownership in a piece of property. Deeds must be recorded in the public land records to create a ledger of past and present ownership, but sometimes errors in this recordkeeping impact the chain of title. There are several types of deeds, and deciding which deed is appropriate for you to convey your property depends upon the facts and circumstances of the exchange.
A special warranty deed conveys a piece of property with a guarantee that nothing occurred during the seller’s ownership that would have broken the chain of title. While this can afford a buyer some peace of mind, public records of property transactions sometimes span hundreds of years, and sometimes the chain of title for a piece of property is broken as a result of an error that occurred far in the past. The property title continues to be transferred from owner to owner without anyone knowing that each of these transfers is invalid because of past error. So, while the seller has every reason to believe he has legal title, he can only guarantee that nothing happened during his course of ownership that could have broken the chain of title.
Bad title is a risk to many real estate transactions, so sellers may choose to convey property through a special warranty deed. This deed does not require them to swear that the chain of title was never broken, but rather the seller only needs to be able to show that the chain of title was not broken on their watch.