Buying a new home can become very exhausting. After weeks (or even months) of open houses and negotiations, most people are tired and want to settle into their dream home as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, a few of the last minute formalities of real estate transfers are very important. Before a transfer of property occurs, the real estate deed must be transferred from the seller to the buyer.
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A deed transfer may seem easy, but it requires detailed attention. A mistake in the deed transfer can cost you a lot of money and time. A skilled deed attorney can make your property deed transfer safer.
What is a deed? A deed is a legal document that provides evidence of real estate transfers.
In the case of a home sale, a deed transfer identifies the buyer (grantee) and seller (grantor), provides a legal description of the property, and contains the grantor’s signature.
Once the real estate deed document is completed the signature must be notarized for the transfer deed to become effective.
While it is possible for a home buyer and a home seller to figure out how to fill out a transfer deed on their own, it is a complex document requiring great attention to detail.
Most home buyers find it easier to delegate the task to a property transfer lawyer.
Types of Deeds
There are many different types of property deeds. Some types of deeds you may have heard of before such as quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds, but there are several other types of deeds as well.
Your deed attorney can provide advice on which deed is best suited for your transfer of property.
– Quitclaim Deeds: A quitclaim deed is one of the most commonly used deeds to transfer property rights primarily because of its simplicity. In fact, it is by far the simplest type of deed.
A quitclaim deed transfers property without providing the new owner with any guarantees or legal warranties of any type.
It simply transfers the property interest of the grantor (whatever legal interest that may be) to the grantee.
For this reason, receiving a quitclaim deed from a property seller can be very risky because a quitclaim deed does not even guarantee that the grantor has any ownership interest at all in the property.
For this reason, never accept a property transfer via quitclaim deed from a stranger and always hire an attorney to double-check the legal chain of title.
– General Warranty Deeds: In contrast to a quitclaim deed, a general warranty deed is the most complex and most legally secure type of deed.
A general warranty deed pledges that the grantor owns the property free and clear of any outstanding liens, mortgages, or other legal encumbrances against it.
If the new owner later discovers a title defect, the grantor will be responsible for that breach of warranty even if the grantor did not know about the defect.
Because general warranty deeds provide such substantial protection to home buyers, home sellers are often reluctant to agree to a general warranty deed, and therefore they can be quite uncommon.
– Special Warranty Deeds: Special warranty deeds are one of the most common types of deeds in residential real estate transactions such as home sales.
A majority of homeowners likely have special warranty deeds. This type of deed provides assurances that the seller previously owned the property and that he or she did not encounter any issues with title during ownership.
Essentially, a special warranty deed protects the buyer from any of the seller’s actions which may have adversely affected title, but it does not come with the same broad-sweeping protection of a general warranty deed.
– Grant Deeds: Like a special warranty deed, a grant deed provides less-than-perfect title protection, but it is a useful deed in certain circumstances.
The primary guarantee of a grant deed is that the grantor owns the whole property he or she is claiming to transfer and that no prior transfer has occurred.
The grant deed is also used to identify easements running across the property or any other title defects.
The new owner takes title to the property subject to any exceptions to the guarantee which are explicitly listed.
– Bargain Deeds: A bargain deed (occasionally referred to as a “bargain and sale deed”) sits between a special warranty deed and a quitclaim deed.
Whereas a quitclaim deed makes no warranties of any kind, a bargain and sale deed warrants that the seller at least owns the property. Bargain deeds do not make any warranties against encumbrances to title.
This is the most common deed type used in New York. Like in the case of a quitclaim deed, always consult a deed transfer attorney before accepting a bargain deed.
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– Transfer-on-Death Deed: This is not a deed available to property owners in New York and is very uncommon elsewhere.
The deed simply specifies that if the deed will automatically transfer to the grantee upon the death of the grantor.
If you are looking to move to New York from out of state and your out of state property has a Transfer-on-Death deed, consult a deed transfer attorney for additional information.
Circumstances Where a Deed Attorney May Be Required
There are several different life events that may require home buyers or home owners to consult a deed transfer attorney. In some cases, this will involve making an entirely new deed.
In others, it may be simply altering the existing deed. The following circumstances may necessitate a change in deed status:
- Buying a home
- Selling a home
- Transferring ownership of property to a trust or corporation
- Giving away property as a gift
- Marriage or divorce
- Executing the will of a deceased relative
- Refinancing a mortgage
- Taking equity out on the home
- Getting a home equity line of credit
The Deed Transfer Process and Deed Recording Explained
First, you will want to hire a qualified deed attorney to prepare and file the real estate transfer deed.
You will need to provide basic information about the property and any individuals who will be listed on the title. With this information, the real estate attorney will make inquiries about title to ensure it is secure and to establish a legal definition of the property.
From there, the deed transfer attorney will prepare a new deed which will need to be signed and notarized.
Once the deed is signed and completed, the conveyance process is essentially complete.
However, to provide the most protection to your property transfer, you will need to record the new deed in the county where the property is located.
The recording of a deed essentially provides protection against other claims to ownership of the property.
Are you considering buying or selling property?
Have you already begun the real estate transaction process and need advice on how to proceed?
At the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, we assist clients who buy or sell property in the greater New York City area including all of its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York.