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Special Warranty Deed



A special warranty deed guarantees that nothing occurred during the seller’s ownership of a property that would have broken the chain of title.

If you are selling or purchasing a building, a piece of land or another parcel of real property, you may benefit from completing a special warranty deed at some point in the process of your broader transaction. If you are going to be selling or purchasing the real property for a specific price, at some point you will likely need to use a warranty deed in order to articulate the explicit transfer of your ownership interest. If you are going to be transferring the interest in question without actually selling/purchasing the property for a price, you will likely need to use a quitclaim deed to articulate the transfer of that interest. However, it may be beneficial for everyone involved to use a special warranty deed to clarify certain details before you execute a finalized warranty or quitclaim deed related to your transaction. This legal tool helps to guarantee the integrity of the title in question.

Uses

  • 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.

Overview

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.

If you need to prove (or want to receive proof) that the title associated with an upcoming transfer of real property ownership is currently free of defects, you may use a special warranty deed in order to achieve that goal. You may be able to use this tool even if the title was affected by defects in the past but is not similarly affected at the present time. Similarly, you may use a special warranty deed in order to include a warranty in the transfer of the real property title in question. In essence, a special warranty deed functions as a promise that the current seller is fully in ownership of the property interest being sold and that there is no reason not to trust that said ownership interest will transfer completely and without restriction.