General Warranty Deed or Special Warranty Deed-What’s the Big Deal?

by | Mar 3, 2016 | Legal Tips

What is the difference in a general warranty deed and special warranty deed?

A warranty deed is a deed in which the grantor (seller) warrants that she holds clear title to real property and has the legal right to sell it to the grantee (buyer).  A warranty deed contains six traditional forms of covenants of title. The present covenants include the Covenant of Seisin (covenant of legal possession), Covenant of Right to Convey and Covenant against Encumbrances. The future covenants are the Covenant of Warranty (assurance or guarantee of title), Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment (protects against claims of paramount title) and Covenant of Further Assurances (grantor will take steps to cure defects in title).

A general warranty deed protects the grantee against any title defects or claims arising at any point in time. Whereas, a special warranty deed only protects the grantee against title defects arising from the actions or omissions of the grantor during its ownership.  In the past this was a significant difference which could affect your client’s willingness to purchase property.  However, if the buyer purchases an owner’s title insurance policy it protects and insures against loss of title pertaining to these six covenants. Therefore, as long as your client purchases an owner’s title policy either deed is satisfactory today.

Today’s Historical Fact- Calhoun Street was originally named Lumber Street in 1793. The street was renamed in 1911 for SC Statesman John C. Calhoun. Calhoun was a lawyer, US Secretary of War, Vice-President under John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State. He served many years in Congress. Calhoun is a complicated and controversial figure particularly for his position on nullification. Nullification is the theory that the states formed the Union by an agreement and thus the States’ have the final authority to determine the limits of federal power which include the States’ ability to nullify federal law.  From 1828 to 1832 Calhoun pushed the country to the brink of Civil War during the Nullification Crisis where Calhoun asserted that the Tariff of 1828 was unconstitutional and that South Carolina had the right to veto the bill which it did in 1832.  The crisis abated with a compromise tariff bill.  The country however continued on the path to Civil War in 1861. 



Photo by bradleygee

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