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Grant Deed basics

Grant Deeds are legal documents that protect buyers during the course of a property transfer. A Grant Deed serves as a legal guarantee that the property is not encumbered by any liens or other financial obligations and that the seller will not sell the property to anyone else.

Grant deeds are typically offered when property is being transferred from one person to another, and when a mortgage or other loan is not being used. This is because mortgages usually go through a closing process, where the property is held by a banking institution until the ownership transfers. Here, the grant deed serves as the protection.


When can I use a Grant Deed?


This Grant Deed document can be used if:

  • You're buying property and want assurance that the property will not be sold to someone else.
  • You are buying property and want a guarantee that the property does not have any liens or restrictions tied to it.
  • You are selling property and want to provide assurances to the buyer.
  • You need to transfer property to a separate business or trust.
  • You want to give a gift of property to another person or entity.

How do I get a Grant Deed?


A Grant Deed is a fairly straight forward real estate document. You only need to have a few pieces of information prepared in order to create the Grant Deed document featured on this page.

You'll want to have the following information on hand in order to create your Grant Deed:

  • Property details – You will need the parcel number and legal description of the property that is being sold. Attaching an image or a map is optional.
  • Contact information for the recipient of the original recorded deed – Often this is an attorney, trustee, grantor, or grantee.
  • Contact information for who is granting the property – This might be an individual person, more than one person, a trust, or a business.
  • The amount of money exchanged – If the property is a gift, you'll want to specify zero dollars. If the property is granted pursuant to a sale, list the purchase price.
  • Oil, mineral, or other similar rights – These aren't necessarily granted with the property. Some sellers may opt to retain these rights for future purposes.
  • Rights to the property – In some cases, sellers retain rights to live on property, even after the ownership has been transferred. For example, in the event of a life estate, the grantor may live on the property for the rest of his or her life, and then the property passes to the grantee. In other cases, owners may retain rights to access items that they will keep stored on the property, such as equipment. To avoid a future misunderstanding, make your description as detailed as possible.

Who signs a Grant Deed?


Aside from the notarization requirements, the only party that absolutely must sign the Grant Deed is the grantor (in most cases the seller). Most state laws require that in addition to the grantor signing the deed, it must be acknowledged by a public notary. While the new owner of the property must be included in the information within the Grant Deed, the recipient is not legally required to sign the Grant Deed.


What is the difference between a Grant Deed and Title?


Title is a document that demonstrates proof of ownership. The Title will include information about the owner, including their name and signature. A Grant Deed, in contrast, is a legal document that is used to convey (transfer) property from one person to another. It's helpful to put the emphasis on "grant" in Grant Deed, as one person is "granting" the property to someone else, similar to the concept of granting a wish, for example.


How long does it take to record a Grant Deed?


The amount of time it takes to record a Grant Deed will vary by jurisdiction. Busier areas will necessarily take longer to process. You can ask the office where the deed is to be recorded what their estimated timeline is. Many counties now provide access to real property records online and free of charge, so you may be able to check there periodically.

The office where your deed will be recorded is usually called the County Recorder's Office. However, it is sometimes called a Register of Deeds or a Land Registry office. In many cases, the county courthouse usually houses the office.


Do Grant Deeds need to be notarized?


Because real estate transactions usually have a lot at stake, they typically require notarization. A Grant Deed is no exception, it must be notarized and recorded. In some jurisdictions, it may also need to be witnessed.


How do I get a copy of a Grant Deed?


Once filed, Grant Deeds are public records. You can usually obtain a copy from the local recorder's office in the county the property is located. Counties vary on how you can request a copy. Some counties provide online services and others may require that you visit the recorder's office. Additionally, you may not be able to obtain a copy on the spot. You may have to wait for a mailed copy. A small fee is usually charged.


What is the difference between a Grant Deed and a Quitclaim Deed?


Grant Deeds are most often used by parties who do not know each other as part of the paperwork involving the transfer of property. Quitclaim Deeds are often used to transfer interest in a property and are frequently used during divorce proceedings. For example, one spouse bought a home on their own before they got married. After they divorce, often a third-party buyer will ask the former spouse to sign a Quitclaim Deed to show they have no interest in the property.


What is the difference between a Grant Deed and a Warranty Deed?


Grant Deeds offer a bit less protection for the buyer than Warranty Deeds. Some states do not support Grant Deeds and use Warranty Deeds instead. Both are used to show that the property does not have liens or other financial obligations against it. They both also state that no other buyer can buy the property out from under them. However, with a Grant Deed, the warranties are implied whereas in a Warranty Deed they are "guaranteed." In both cases, you can sue if you find out the agreement is violated, like if you discover a tax lien on the property. If you don't know which document your state supports, you can ask a lawyer.


What is the difference between a Grant Deed and a Trust Deed?


In the simplest of terms, a Trust Deed is used if the property sold is financed. A Trust Deed is similar to a mortgage. In this case, the title of the property is held "in trust" until the loan is paid in full. The property acts as collateral for the loan.

If you'd like to learn more about transferring property, see How to Transfer Real Estate.


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