A property deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of a property from one party to another. According to the Maryland Judiciary, the Department of Land Records is responsible for maintaining the records of all deeds. This includes the various types of deeds for property.
Understanding the different types of deeds is important for both buyers and sellers in any real estate transaction.
General warranty deed
A general warranty deed provides the highest level of protection to the buyer. It guarantees that the property is free of any liens or claims and assures the buyer that the seller will defend the title against any third-party claims. In essence, it offers a full warranty against any legal issues related to the property’s history.
Special warranty deed
Unlike the general warranty deed, a special warranty deed provides a more limited guarantee. It only assures the buyer that there has been no encumberment on the property during the seller’s ownership. This means it does not cover any claims that might have arisen before the seller acquired the property.
A quitclaim deed is the simplest form of property deed. It transfers the seller’s interest in the property to the buyer without making any guarantees about the title. This type of deed is common in situations where the parties involved have a high level of trust or in family transactions.
A sheriff’s deed occurs after a court-ordered sale of a property, typically due to foreclosure or a tax lien. It transfers the property from the court to the highest bidder and does not provide any warranties regarding the property’s title.
A trustee’s deed conveys ownership when a trustee sells a property as part of a trust or as part of a foreclosure Like a sheriff’s deed, it does not come with warranties.
Understanding these different types of property deeds is helpful for anyone involved in a real estate transaction. The type of deed used can have a significant impact on the level of protection and guarantees provided to the buyer.