Real Estate Law Steps to Preparing a Valid Deed

A deed  is a “written document which transfers title (ownership) or an interest in real property to another person.  The most common types of deeds are:

Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed should contain the words “conveys and warrants” or similar wording.  By signing this type of deed, the grantor asserts that he or she is the lawful owner of the property, and that he or she has a right to convey said property. The grantor declares that he or she will defend the title so that the grantee and its heirs may enjoy quiet and peaceable possession.

Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed grants to the grantee and its heirs all the legal rights the grantor has in the property at the time of conveyance.  There are no warranties of title. 

Special Warranty Deed

In this type of deed, the liability of the grantor is limited because it warrants only what the deed explicitly states.  It is essentially the same as a quitclaim deed.  These types of deeds are normally utilized by corporations and other entities that wish to circumvent assumption of the liability contained in a general warranty deed.  The grantor will usually warrant that nothing was done to impair title during the period that the title was held. 

In order for a deed to be deemed valid, the following provisions must be followed:

Must be in writing  

The deed must be in writing and contain a legal description which will adequately identify the property to be conveyed. 


The deed must contain a conveyance of the property.  If the deed contains a legal description that appears to convey more property than the seller actually owns, the deed is usually valid only for the portion that belongs to the seller.


A grantor or owner of the property will need to be specified on the deed.  The owner can be one or more people, a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or any other entity.  The grantor must also be considered the owner of the property, competent and at least 18 years of age.   


In addition to a grantor, there must also be a grantee or buyer of the property.  The grantee may be a minor or incompetent.  Although granting a deed to a fictitious person is void, it is valid to grant a deed to a person using a fictitious name.   


Consideration must be stated in the deed.  In many instances, the consideration can be minimal, and may contain a statement such as “for $10 and other good and valuable consideration.” 


The deed must be attested to by at least two witnesses, and should be acknowledged by an authorized person such as a notary public. 


The deed must then be delivered, and should be accepted within the lifetimes of both the grantor and grantee in order to be considered valid. 


Though not mandatory, a deed is typically recorded in order to protect the grantee against claims of a third party. 

Although each state may have its own requirements, the above information is essential in order for a deed to be considered valid.