A General Warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (person with ownership interest) guarantees that he holds a clear title to a piece of real estate. The grantor not only guarantees he received a clear title from the previous owner of the property, but also that no other individuals, past or present, retain an interest in the property. 

If title is later discovered to not be clear (also known as "defective" title or has a "cloud" on it), then the grantor may be liable to the person who purchased the property.  Common defects in title include mortgage claims, tax liens, title claims, judgments, and mechanic's liens.

A General Warranty deed is used in most real estate deed transfers, as it provides the greatest protection of any deed. It is also known as a Grant Deed in some states.

What Exactly Does a General Warranty Deed Cover?

A person who makes a General Warranty (the "Grantor") promises many things, both now and in the future.  If these promises (called "covenants") are broken, the person making the promises can be liable.

Present Covenants

  • Grantor states that he is the owner of the property 
  • Grantor has the right to convey property (transfer title of land to another)
  • There are no encumbrances on the property other than those already disclosed

Future Covenants

  • Grantor has superior title against all others
  • Warranty against future encumbrances
  • Quiet enjoyment of property - right of an owner to use property without disturbance

Should I Consult with an Attorney before Purchasing Real Estate?

Purchasing real estate is a significant investment and contacting a property attorney may provide you with information regarding the laws in your state and any further assurances, such as examining a title insurance policy. Even though a general warranty deed provides the most protection amongst all other types of deed, there are situations where more protection for buyers is needed. If the grantor has died or is not able to follow through on a promise if something happens in the future, title insurance may provide further protection.