Introduction to Real Property Conveyance Deeds
Parties often grant legal rights by way of written deeds. A deed affecting real property typically encumbers or conveys that property. In Washington State, parties may convey real property by way of a variety of deeds.
The most common conveyance deeds in Washington State include Statutory Warranty Deeds, Bargain and Sale Deeds, and Quit Claim Deeds. Notwithstanding the variety in deeds, the parties to a conveyance must ensure their deed meets several fundamental elements:
- The parties must put the deed in writing in order to comply with the Statute of Frauds;
- The deed must include consideration (the exchanged-for value), even if nominal, such as “for $10.00 and other good and valuable consideration” or as a “gift”;
- The deed must include the legal description of the conveyed real property;
- The Grantor must sign the deed in front of a party authorized to take acknowledgments of deeds, most typically, a notary public; and
- The Grantor must deliver the deed to the Grantee with the intent to pass title.
Despite their commonalities, however, all conveyance deeds are not created equal.
Most parties engaged in the purchase and sale of real property convey that property by way of a Statutory Warranty Deed. A Grantor who conveys by this form of deed makes a series of promises, or warranties, to the Grantee of the property. Specifically, the Grantor warrants:
- That he or she owns the real property and has the legal right to convey it;
- That no one else possesses the real property;
- That the property will pass free of encumbrances (deeds of trust, easements, covenants) other than those disclosed in the deed;
- That no third party with a superior claim of title will interfere with the Grantee’s rights; and
- That the Grantor will defend the Grantee against certain title claims.
However, in some circumstances, parties will convey real property in a different fashion. For example, a party may convey the property by way of a Quit Claim Deed. With a Quit Claim Deed, the Grantor does not make any warranties or assurances regarding the property. Indeed, the Grantor does not even represent that he or she owns the property or has any rights to it. Nonetheless, Quit Claim Deeds can often be commonly found in transactions between family or friends, in circumstances involving a gift, and sometimes, to settle legal disputes.
Another less common, but still utilized, form of conveyance deed is the Bargain and Sale Deed, often referred to as Special Warranty Deeds in other states. The Bargain and Sail Deed contains some promises, but only for the period in which the Grantor owned the property. Specifically, the Grantor of a Bargain and Sale Deed warrants:
- That the Grantor owns the real property;
- That the property contains no encumbrances during the time in which the Grantor owed the property, apart from those disclosed on the Deed; and
- The Grantor will not interfere with the Grantee’s rights to the property.
The promises contained in Bargain and Sale Deeds ensure that a Grantor will not interfere with a Grantee’s rights, and that the Grantor has not secretly encumbered the property at issue. The Grantor of this type of deed, however, does not warrant or make promises about what has occurred prior to the Grantor’s ownership of the property. Often times, banks and other financial institutions will issue Bargain and Sale Deeds, especially after foreclosing on real property, because they do not wish to warrant anything that happened outside of their time of ownership.
While the above constitute the most common forms of conveyance deeds in Washington State, there are many others as well, such as Personal Representative’s deeds (from a decedent’s estate), Trustee’s Deeds (from a non-judicial foreclosure) and Sheriff’s Deeds (from a forced sheriff’s execution sale or judicial foreclosure).
If you find yourself in circumstances where you need legal assistance pertaining to a purchase and sale transaction, or any other form of conveyance or encumbrance of real property, the lawyers at Beresford Booth have extensive experience to guide you through the complex issues involved. If you need any assistance with real property issues, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (425) 776-4100 for assistance.