- December 5, 2016
- Thomas Adam
- Real Estate
If you are buying or selling a home in Florida, you expect to fill out a lot of documents in the process but may not know the meaning of each of the documents involved in your Florida real estate sale. One of the most important documents is the Deed. A deed is a legal document that conveys the property from the seller to the buyer.
In it the seller makes a number of covenants, or promises, to the buyer. Not all deeds are the same and they are distinguished by the different types of covenants they contain (or the lack thereof). Yawn, right? Wrong! If something goes wrong after the closing, the covenants play an important role in establishing the respective rights of the new and old homeowners. After the deed has been executed, a buyer of property may no longer sue based on the real estate sales contract, but must instead pursue an action based on the covenants contained in the deed.
There are three traditional types of deeds: general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds. Florida, like a few other states, has created a fourth type of deed: the statutory warranty deed.
General Warranty Deed
The general warranty deed is the first traditional category of deeds. The general warranty deed provides for the greatest scope of protection against claims of title by third parties against the buyer. It warrants against claims of title that may have arose both while the seller held title to the land and also at all times prior. Put simply, the general warranty deed warrants against claims of title by all third parties.
Statutory Warranty Deed
Florida has a special type of warranty deed created by Florida Statute § 689.02. The statutory warranty deed aims to simplify the verbiage contained in a deed. There are a number of different covenants that are traditionally contained in a warranty deed. In the absence of a statute, all of these covenants would have to be specifically included in the deed to be effective. The statutory warranty deed, on the other hand, implicates all of the warranties contained in a general warranty deed without requiring that they be explicitly stated. The statute contains the specific language that must be contained in a statutory warranty deed.
Special Warranty Deed
The special warranty deed is another traditional category of deeds. The special warranty deed contains all of the same covenants as a general warranty deeds. However, it only warrants against third party claims of title that may have arisen while the seller held title. This means that if a third party has a claim to the property because of some purported conveyance that occurred before the seller ever acquired title to the property, the special warranty deed provides no protection to the current buyer. In the court’s language, the covenants contained in a special warranty deed are limited to claims by third parties that arise “by, through or under the grantor.”
The last type of deed is the quitclaim deed. A quitclaim deed contains no covenants of title. It only conveys whatever right, if any, the seller has in the property. This will serve to shield the seller, except in cases of fraud, against actions in regards to the validity of title because once the deed is executed; any action must be taken on the basis of the covenants in the deed and not under the land sale contract. The Quitclaim Deed can be thought of as a buyer beware deed – the seller makes no promises about his rights to convey title to the property so if the seller does not actually hold valid title to the property, the buyer won’t either and will likely have no recourse against the seller.
Representation for Florida Real Estate Transactions
Deeds are just one of the many important legal documents involved in a real estate closing. If you’re planning to buy or sell your home or property in Florida, the attorneys at Adam Law Group can help you understand the process and help protect you by ensuring that the correct legal formalities and documents are completed correctly.