A deed is the instrument that transfers ownership of real property from one owner to another. It contains the names of the current owner (the grantor) and the new owner (the grantee), the legal description of the property, and is signed by the grantor. Transfers of real property must be in writing and notarized. Deeds should be recorded in the county where the property is located.
When you are buying property, you also need to choose how you are going to hold title. Co-buyers can take title as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenants in common.
The following are deeds that are used for transfer of real property in Virginia:
A general warranty deed is used to transfer an interest in real estate in Virginia in most real estate transactions. A Virginia warranty deed conveys real property with warranty covenants to the buyer. It requires an acknowledgement of the grantor's signature.
A warranty deed is the most common type of deed used in most purchase and sale transactions. It offers the best protection for the grantee because it guarantees that the title is good and marketable. The grantor promises the grantee that the grantor will defend the grantee from any all claims made by third parties. The general warranty deed contains the following provisions:
Types of Virginia Warranty Deeds:
Transfer of property may also be done through a special or limited warranty deed or quitclaim deed.
A contract for deed, land contract or installment agreement is used when the seller agrees to finance the purchase of the property and holds title or deed as security until the buyer makes all the payments.
When a special or limited warranty deed is used, the grantor only warrants that there are no title defects during the time the grantor owned the property. The special or limited warranty deed gives the grantee greater protection than a quitclaim deed and less protection than a full or general warranty deed.
A quitclaim deed transfers ownership interest of the grantor to the grantee without any warranties or guarantees that title is good or that the property is free of liens or claims. A quitclaim deed is used mostly in non-sale transactions such as transfers between spouses.
A deed of trust or trust deed is similar to a mortgage. Title is transferred to a trustee, which is usually a trust or title company that holds the real property as security for the borrower's loan. At the time the loan is paid in full, title is transferred to the borrower. The only powers that the trustee has is the power of sale if the borrower defaults. The trustee can then sell the property to pay off the lender at a foreclosure sale auction.
Grant deeds transfer ownership from the grantor to the grantee. The grantor promises that title has not been transferred previously and that there are not any encumbrances, other than those stated in the deed.
If you are transferring property in Virginia, you should seek the help of a lawyer.