What is a General Warranty Deed?

Malcolm Tatum

General warranty deeds are deeds that include a commitment on the part of the seller to protect the buyer in the event that any claims on the property emerge after the sale is completed. Essentially, this creates a situation where the new owner of the property does not have to be concerned about losing control of the asset while the claims are settled. In the event that a claim proves to be true, the seller must reimburse the buyer or grantee for the value of the property as well as any other losses that occur due as a result of the dispute over the property title.

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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

A general warranty deed is usually considered a type of deed that provides the maximum amount of protection to the buyer. Should the seller’s title be challenged in any way, the buyer does not have any responsibility to attempt to resolve the dispute. The responsibility remains with the seller, who must take steps to prove that his or her title to the property is the legitimate title and that the seller has full rights to offer the property for sale if desired.

Just about any type of claim contesting the legitimacy of the seller’s title is covered in a general warranty deed. This includes issues such as mortgage claims, tax liens, or even title claims where other parties attest that they are the rightful owners with a clear title, not the seller or grantor.

Should the grantor be unable to establish that his or her deed is the legitimate title for the property, the grantor is then responsible for compensating the grantee for any and all expenses associated with the issue. This often includes full reimbursement of the purchase price, paying for any improvements to the property made by the grantee during the period of possession and possibly reimbursing the grantee for any out of pocket expenses associated with securing and moving belongings to a new property.

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Because of the protection that a general warranty deed affords a buyer, it is not unusual for this type of deed to be used as part of the real estate transaction. In some countries around the world, the inclusion of this type of deed in any real estate deal is mandatory. Even in countries where that is not the case, a general warranty deed is still used as a matter of course. Buyers would do well to always insist on the inclusion of a general warranty deed, even if they have full confidence in the veracity of the deed held by the seller.

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