A deed is an important legal document that transfers the ownership of a home or a piece of property to another person. A deed typically describes in writing the location of the property and it also includes the names of the former owners of the property and the names of the new owners.

Deeds are typically transferred between individuals in real estate transactions when a person buys or sells a home, or when the ownership of a home is passed between family members through an inheritance. There are many different types of deeds that can be used to transfer ownership of a property.

A deed must be signed by the individual who is transferring the home to the new owner. Their signature must be notarized by a notary public to prove that the ownership transfer is valid.

What Does it Mean to Record a Deed?

After the ownership of a home has been transferred to a new owner, the signed deed must be recorded. The recording of a deed is the act of filing the deed at the register of deeds office or recorder of deeds in the county where the home is located. A recording fee is required as part of the process. Recording a deed is a very important step that can help prevent many disputes and legal issues in the future.

Are there Different Types of Deeds?

The types of deeds available to transfer the ownership of a home vary by state. Different deeds offer new owners with guarantees that their ownership will be free from liens and real estate title issues.

While there are many different types of deeds that can be used in different situations, some of the most common types of deeds include:

  • Quitclaim deeds that transfer all of an owner’s interest in a property to a new owner, without the guarantee that the property is free from any liens or title issues;
  • Warranty deeds that transfer an owner’s interest in a property to a new owner, and also guarantee that the property is free from any liens or title issues; and
  • Special warranty deeds that transfer an owner’s interest in a property to a new owner. These also guarantee that no liens or title issues occurred during their ownership of the property, but don’t guarantee that no liens or title issues currently exist.

How Do Liens and Title Issues Relate to a Deed?

Liens and title issues can have an impact on the type of deed that is used to transfer ownership of a property. A lien is typically placed on a home in situations where a homeowner owes an outstanding, unpaid debt to a creditor.

If a homeowner has a lien on their home, it means that they cannot transfer ownership of the home to a new owner with a clean title unless the debt is paid off. Owners of homes that have clean titles and no liens can offer buyers a warranty deed when they transfer their property.

This type of property transfer can increase the value of a home and also provides potential buyers of the property with a sense of security. Homes with liens and title issues may be more difficult to sell and may have diminished value. Homeowners in these situations typically transfer ownership to a new owner through a quitclaim deed or special warranty deed.

If I Inherited a Property, How Do I Get a Deed?

In some cases, ownership of a home is transferred to a family member through an inheritance at the death of a loved. There are different types of deeds that are used in these situations.

A transfer-on-death deed is used in some states when the owner of a home signs a deed to a new owner while they are still alive. The transfer of the ownership of the home is not effective until the owner of the property dies.

In other states, a loved one’s will can be used to transfer the ownership of a home. In these situations, the family member who inherited the home can file a copy of the will and a certified copy of the death certificate of their loved one with the register of deeds office in order to update the deed to reflect the new owner’s name.

Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer for My Deed Issue?

You may be able to transfer ownership of a property on your own, but deeds can be difficult to properly execute, especially in special situations where a title issue, lien, or inheritance may be involved.

It is in your best interests to contact a real estate attorney if you have questions about your deed, your rights to a home, or if you’re in the process of buying or selling a home. A real estate lawyer can help ensure that your deed is properly drafted and recorded and that the right type of deed is used for your home ownership transfer situation.