As Virginia deed preparation attorneys, we often get questions about property deeds. In Virginia, there are several types of deeds used for different purposes. Understanding the differences is essential to choosing the right one for your situation.
Because real estate transactions are complex, having an experienced legal team guide you through the process, including deed preparation, can help you avoid expensive legal battles. This article answers some of the most common questions about deeds we receive at PJI Law, PLC. If you have specific questions about your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us at (703) 865-6100.
What Is a Property Deed?
A property deed is a legal document used in real estate transactions to transfer the title of real property from a seller (grantor) to a buyer (grantee). Real property can be land or anything attached to the land, like a house or a road. A deed is necessary to show ownership of the property.
The deed must be signed, notarized, and recorded with the clerk’s office in the county where the property is located to be legally valid. The deed recording will show up in any future title searches, allowing for traceable ownership.
What Are the Different Types of Deeds?
There are several types of deeds in Virginia. We’ll discuss a few of them below.
General Warranty Deed
Most real estate transactions use general warranty deeds. A general warranty deed provides the best protection to the buyer because it comes with warranties from the seller that the property is free of encumbrances and that the seller has the right to sell it. An encumbrance is a claim made against a property by someone other than the current titleholder. Some common claims are leases, liens, easements, and mortgages.
Special Warranty Deed
A special warranty deed is similar to a general warranty deed but with one key difference. In a special warranty deed, the seller only guarantees that they have not placed any encumbrances on the property since they have owned it. In other words, only defects that arose during the seller’s property ownership are warranted.
A quitclaim deed is a document in which a person quits any interest that person may have in real property and transfers title to another person. A quitclaim deed, also known as a non-warranty deed, is the most basic type of deed and offers no warranties from the seller to the buyer.
Quitclaim deeds are occasionally used for transfers between family members, gifts, transferring personal property into a business entity, and other special or unusual circumstances. In divorces, quitclaim deeds are frequently used, in which one party grants the other full ownership of property that they previously held as joint tenants.
What Is the Difference Between a Deed and a Title?
The terms “deed” and “title” are frequently used interchangeably in real estate transactions to refer to the legal ownership of a property. Although both terms refer to the transfer of ownership, they have two distinct meanings. While a deed is a physical document proving ownership, the title refers to the legal rights to the property as documented in the deed.
What Are the Consequences of Not Recording a Deed in Virginia?
If you do not record your deed in Virginia, the deed will not be valid, and the grantee will not have any legal claim to the property. Additionally, if you try to sell the property without having recorded the deed, you may face legal difficulties, as potential buyers will not be able to confirm that you are the rightful owner of the property.
Therefore, it is always best to record your deed as soon as possible after it has been executed. If you have any questions about deed recording in Virginia or need assistance with any step of the process, it is always best to consult with an experienced deed preparation attorney.
Can I Transfer Ownership by Deed Upon My Death?
Virginia law allows a person to transfer their ownership rights to real property located in Virginia to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries without it having to be probated. This is done using a document called a “transfer on death deed.”
Here, the deed names the beneficiary who will inherit the land upon the grantor’s death. Other options to transfer property upon death and avoid probate include:
- Joint tenancies
- Tenancies by the entirety (between spouses)
- Living trusts
What Do I Do if I Lost My Deed?
Though there may be a small fee, if you lose your deed, you can request a copy of the deed from the clerk’s office in the county where the property is located.
Do I Need an Attorney to Prepare My Deed in Virginia?
While hiring a deed preparation attorney is not required, it is recommended because your attorney can ensure that the deed is properly prepared and executed and that all necessary steps are taken to ensure its validity. In addition, your attorney can have your deed recorded at the county clerk’s office on your behalf.
Contact the Experienced Deed Preparation Attorneys at PJI Law, PLC
At PJI Law, PLC, each client receives our complete dedication, personal attention, and courteous, white-glove service. To provide the best experience possible, our skilled team responds quickly to each client and employs cutting-edge technology.
If you are searching online for “deed lawyers near me,” contact the team at PJI Law, PLC instead. We are your partner for all your estate planning and real estate needs. To schedule a consultation, call us at (703) 865-6100 today, or fill out our online form here.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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