Most property conveyed in Georgia is transferred by warranty deed. Although a general warranty deed is most common, other types of deeds, such as limited warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds, also convey property. A buyer usually desires a warranty deed from the seller, however, a seller, may only be willing to provide a quitclaim deed.
A Deed That Warrants Title
As its name implies, a warranty deed offers warranties to title. General warranty deeds warrant the property throughout its history while limited warranty deeds only warrant the property from the time the seller acquired it to its conveyance to the buyer. Wording in a warranty deed, such as “grantor forever warrants and defends the title to the grantee, his heirs and assigns,” obligates the seller to his buyer and the buyer's heirs. A buyer who sustains a loss as a result of a title defect that existed prior to the warranty deed may look to the seller for compensation under those warranties.
Warranty Deeds Not for Everyone
A property owner may own a fractional interest in the property with joint or co-owners. As such, he can't warrant title for the entire property's ownership and usually hesitates to offer assurances to a buyer through a warranty deed. Heirs who are unfamiliar with property they inherited or an owner who inadvertently retained rights in property through an erroneous legal description, could convey by quitclaim deed. Whatever interest an owner has can be conveyed while offering no warranties to the buyer.
Divorcees Prefer to Quitclaim
Quitclaim deeds are often the deed of choice in a divorce. If a husband and wife allocate property rights, neither may choose to offer title warranties to the other spouse. When a divorce decree calls for one spouse to deed to the other, it usually states that the deeding party will “quitclaim” his interest in the property. Quitclaim deeds resulting from a divorce settlement in Georgia also offer recording tax advantages over a warranty deed.
Errors That Can Cloud Title
Heirs who failed to sign a deed conveying inherited property, overlapping boundary lines or an improperly abandoned easement may all create title problems for a property owner. Once these defects have been discovered by a title search or otherwise, quitclaim deeds may be required from those who retain property interests to clear the title for the intended owners.
- GeorgiaGov: Quitclaim Deeds
- Stephens County, Ga: Warranty and Quit Claim Deeds
- Athens-Clarke County Unified Government: Warranty Deeds
- Real Estate Atlanta Ga: General Warranty Deeds versus Limited Warranty Deeds
- Meriwether & Tharp: Post Divorce
- Georgia Real Estate Commission, Georgia Real Estate Infobase: Transfer of Ownership Rights and Interests
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images