Tips for Home Buyers: What is a Deed?
As real estate professionals, we get asked many questions throughout the course of our day. One of the those frequently asked questions that my Houston County GA buyers often ask is, "What is a Deed?"
A deed is the document used to transfer property ownership from the seller (grantor) to the buyer (grantee). A signature by the seller validates the deed and is their declaration they have authority to sell and are giving up their rights to the property.
In Georgia, the transfer of deed occurs at closing. Within 30 days after closing, the buyer should receive a copy of the warranty deed. The warranty deed is a guarantee made by the seller that the title is clear and they have authority to sell the property. Keep your copy of the warranty deed in a safe place.
As a failsafe in-case the buyer defaults on the loan, the bank holds a security deed that transfers title to the lender until the note is fully paid. Once paid-in-full, the bank releases the title to the homeowner.
Below are typical deeds used in Georgia real estate. They must be in writing, list both the grantor and grantee, identify the legal property description, indicate the title is being transferred, and contain the grantor's signature.
- General Warranty Deed - Seller "guarantee" they are the owner of the property, have the right to sell the property, and the property is free of liens.
- Special Warranty Deed - Limits seller liability to only what the deed is specifically granted for, such as the seller stating they are selling property they have legal titleship to sell.
- Quit Claim Deed - Typically used in divorce settlements where a property was jointly owned and one party gives up any interest in the property. Other uses include transfer of ownership between family members and when the property is placed in a living trust.
- Fiduciary Deed - A deed executed by a trustee or guardian because of an incapication of another adult or when the owner dies and transfer of assets or liquidation must occur.
Before signing any real estate documentation you do not understand, contact a real estate attorney to ensure you know your obligations and the ramifications involved.