What is a Deed

What is a Warranty Deed in Florida

Jan 10 2023

Regardless of how you acquire a property—through a purchase, inheritance, or gift—one thing remains the same: your rights to it will not exist without a deed. In the simplest terms, a deed is a legal document confirming the property’s transfer in ownership between a grantor (the person transferring the real estate) and a grantee (the new owner of the real estate). It also details other aspects of the transaction that can have significant repercussions to your ownership.

Not all deeds are the same, and their language and provisions can have a major impact on your rights and the full use and enjoyment of your property.  Discover the definition and characteristics of “warranty deeds” in Florida and how Marina Title can help.

What is a Warranty Deed in Florida? – Explaining the Concept 

As the name suggests, a warranty deed is a type of deed that provides a grantee a guarantee that the grantor has legal ownership of the property (unlimited warranty of title). In other words, a warranty deed is an assurance that the person granting you the property has the right to do so, and that your ownership rights will therefore be recognized. 

Different situations require different deeds, so it is crucial to assess whether a warranty deed is an ideal choice for your case. 

For example, the guarantee of a warranty deed is not limited to the period the grantor owned the property: Rather, it extends throughout the property’s history, providing assurances that the “chain of title”—i.e., legal rights over the property, such as ownership—is unbroken up to your transfer. Otherwise, the grantor signing the warranty deed could face liability for title issues that happened even before they acquired the property. 

Hence, issuing a warranty deed requires the current property owner to be comfortable with the potential risk, as they may face legal liability if unforeseen title defects appear in the future (such as an unrecorded lien from when a prior owner had title to the property). A title search done prior to closing helps to mitigate that risk.

Warranty deeds are the most commonly used and accepted deed type in Florida for standard real estate purchase and sale transactions. To ensure a deed qualifies as a warranty deed, an attorney should draft the document, as they will know what language to include to protect your rights.  

Warranty Deeds vs. Special Warranty Deeds – Understanding the Difference

Warranty deeds are usually referred to as “general warranty deeds” to distinguish them from “special warranty deeds.” Given their similar names, it is easy to confuse the two, especially as they do make many of the same promises, as follows:

  • The grantor owns the property being transferred
  • The grantor is legally allowed to sell the property
  • The property has not already been sold
  • The property is free of debt(s) and other claims (e.g., liens, judgments, etc.)
  • The grantor is responsible for any faults with the property

There is one key difference, however: Unlike a general warranty deed, a special warranty deed offers a limited warranty of title. While a general warranty deed covers the property’s entire history, a special warranty deed only covers the time from which the seller owned the property. Hence the grantor is only liable for anything that emerges from their period of ownership.

That is why warranty deeds are typically used in two situations: When a buyer is acquiring residential real estate from a seller for full value, or when a buyer does not have the intention to acquire title insurance. A general warranty deed is the preferred type of deed for when you do not know the seller, whereas a special warranty deed is often used by developers and banks.

Drafting a Warranty Deed in Florida – A Brief Overview 

Although the form used in general warranty deeds may vary, Florida Statute § 689.02 provides the standard structure and model language to be used in every warranty deed. Failure to abide by these provisions can render the deed invalid and cause lots of problems for the parties involved.

Moreover, the language used in the statutory example is only a starting step, as different deeds require distinct provisions to reflect the specifics of the transaction.

Additionally, a valid warranty deed must meet the general requirements that apply for all deeds in Florida, including a valid legal description of the property and a statement of consideration affirming the amount paid for the property.

Drafting an adequate deed requires an expert approach, as even small differences in language may invalidate or alter a deed. Hence, you should work with an experienced title company to protect your rights and ensure a successful outcome for your transaction. 

Owned and operated by well-versed real estate attorneys, Marina Title is a premier title company that offers title, escrow, and closing services throughout the State of Florida—including expertise in reviewing and drafting deeds. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at (305) 901-5628 or email us at Info@MarinaTitle.com.

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