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  • Writer's picturePorter DeVries

Decoding Deeds: Understanding the Difference Between Warranty Deeds and Quitclaim Deeds

When it comes to real estate transactions, the type of deed used can significantly impact the rights and interests of the parties involved. Two common types of deeds are the warranty deed and the quitclaim deed. In this blog post, we'll unravel the distinctions between these two important legal documents, shedding light on when each is typically used and what protections they offer to buyers and sellers in real estate transactions.

Warranty Deed:

A warranty deed is a robust legal document that provides the buyer (grantee) with the highest level of protection among the various types of deeds. When a seller (grantor) uses a warranty deed, they are essentially making a series of promises to the buyer regarding the property being transferred:

  1. Ownership and Title Assurance: A warranty deed assures the buyer that the seller is the rightful owner of the property and has the legal authority to transfer the title.

  2. No Encumbrances: The grantor guarantees that the property is free from any liens, encumbrances, or legal claims, except those explicitly mentioned in the deed.

  3. Defendable Title: In the event that a third party challenges the buyer's title to the property based on defects that existed before the sale, the seller is obligated to defend the buyer's title.

Quitclaim Deed:

On the other hand, a quitclaim deed is a simpler and less comprehensive form of deed. While it conveys ownership of a property from the grantor to the grantee, it does not provide the same level of protection as a warranty deed:

  1. No Title Guarantees: Unlike a warranty deed, a quitclaim deed makes no guarantees about the grantor's ownership of the property or the absence of liens or encumbrances.

  2. Limited Protections: The grantee receives the property in its current condition, and the grantor is not obligated to defend the title against any claims that may arise after the transfer.

  3. Use Cases: Quitclaim deeds are often used in situations where the parties have an existing relationship, such as transferring property within a family or between business partners. They are less common in traditional real estate transactions.

Choosing the Right Deed:

The choice between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed depends on the circumstances of the transaction and the level of protection the parties desire. If a buyer seeks reassurance about the title and wants legal remedies in case of title issues, a warranty deed is the preferable option. On the other hand, if the transaction involves known parties and there is a high level of trust, a quitclaim deed might suffice.


In the realm of real estate, understanding the difference between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed is crucial for both buyers and sellers. The choice of deed sets the tone for the level of protection and assurance each party receives in a property transaction. Whether opting for the comprehensive assurances of a warranty deed or the simplicity of a quitclaim deed, parties involved should carefully consider their individual needs and seek legal advice to ensure a smooth and secure transfer of property.

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