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What is a “Grant Deed”?

As the name implies, a grant deed is a document wherein an owner grants title to real property to another person.  In a grant deed, the party granting the property is called the “grantor”, while the recipient is called the “grantee”.  Grant deeds are perhaps the most common form of deed used for selling property. 

There are a few main promises contained in every grant deed:

Grant deeds usually cover the transfer of property in whole, although they can sometimes cover partial transfers of property interests (such as a portion of plot of land). 

How are Grant Deeds Different From Other Types of Deeds?

There are many, many types of deeds that are used to address property interests.  Grant deeds can be much different from these common types of deeds:

Thus, you may need to check state or local laws to determine how they classify deeds to property.  This is important, because one type of deed may be preferable over another depending on the nature of the property and the type of transaction involved.

What is Contained in a Valid Grant Deed?

Requirements for a valid grant deed may be different from region to region, but a valid grant deed must usually contain:

Also, the grant deed needs to be delivered and accepted to be valid.  For example, the deed will not be valid if the grant deed was never delivered to the grantee.  And while it’s usually not required, it is a good idea to have the deed documents officially notarized, in order to prevent instances of fraud.

What if There is a Hidden Defect or a Hidden Encumbrance on the Title?

If there is a title defect or some sort of encumbrance on the property, the grantee might be able to recover damages for any losses they incurred. 

For example, if there was outstanding debt on the property, and the seller didn’t inform the buyer, it could affect the sales price.  The buyer might then be able sue to recover the difference in sales price.  Alternatively, they might even be able to file a breach of contract claim, since the seller generally has a duty to disclose such information to the grantee. 

On the other hand, damages are usually limited to those defects that weren’t disclosed to the buyer.  If the property had some sort of unfavorable condition when sold, and the buyer knew about it, they are usually “assuming the risk”.  In that case, the amount of damages they can recover might be limited or even prohibited by the court.   

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Grant Deed?

Whether you are the grantor creating the deed, or a grantee receiving the property, it is in your best interest to work with a real estate lawyer.  That way, you will be informed of your rights and duties in relation to the transfer.  Your lawyer can be on hand to help you draft or review the deed documents.  Hiring an attorney before negotiations begin can also prevent disputes in the long run. 

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Last Modified: 02-02-2012 02:50 PM PST

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