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What's the Difference Between a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed?

Both General Warranty Deeds and Special Warranty Deeds can be used for real estate sales between parties that are unfamiliar with each other. Ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the buyer with certain guarantees against future problems or claims, which protect the buyer against fraud.


What Are the Similarities Between a Warranty and Special Warranty Deed?

Both types of warranty deeds (special and general) guarantee the buyer:

  • That the seller owns the title

  • That the seller is legally allowed to sell the property

  • That the property has not already been sold

  • That the property is free of debt or other claims (aside any mentioned in the deed)

  • That the seller is responsible for any problems/faults with the property


What Are the Differences?

The primary difference is that a warranty deed covers the property's entire history, whereas the special warranty deed only covers the period of time for which the seller owned it. Therefore, a seller in a warranty deed must defend the title against all other claims and a seller in a special warranty deed is only responsible for debts and problems accrued during his ownership of the property.


Note: If the grantor (seller) does not wish to provide any guarantees, consider preparing a Bargain and Sale Deed or a Quit Claim Deed.