Understanding Property Deeds

Property deeds are legal documents used in real estate that transfers ownership of real property from a grantor (seller) to a grantee (buyer). Real property is land or anything attached to the land, such as buildings or roads. For a deed to be legally operative, it must include the identification of the grantor and grantee and the adequate description of the property.

More specifically, deeds fall in a number of categories, including warranty, quitclaim, and special purpose. This article will define what deeds are, what needs to be included in a deed to make it legally operative, and the different types of deeds that are used in the transfer of real property.

Key Takeaways

What Are Property Deeds?

A property deed is a written and signed legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership of the real property from the old owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee). Historically, real property was transferred through a ceremonial act known as "livery of seisin." In this act, the person transferring the land handed a twig or clod of turf from the land to the person taking delivery of the land. A verbal or written statement often accompanied the gesture, though it was the livery of seisin that legally transferred the title to the property. Today, the title to real property is conveyed by a paper deed.

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