Perhaps the most misunderstood document in the legal world is the humble quitclaim deed - referred to by many as "quick claim" deeds. Here's a quick tutorial to avoid embarrassment the next time you attend a real estate closing.
Let's start with the most potent deed -- the General Warranty Deed. These are what you find in most real estate transactions. The grantor (seller) warrants good title going all the way back to 1820 or whenever the land came out of the government's hands with a "patent." That warranty is not as scary as it might sound due to title insurance and multiple past transactions involving that parcel where title was scrutinized and blessed.
A Quitclaim Deed is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It warrants nothing. As the law professors say, "I'll give you a Quitclaim Deed to the Grand Canyon." That's because the grantor makes no guarantees whatsoever. So . . . . why have these deeds at all? Actually, quitclaim deeds play a vital role in the real estate world. They're used to confirm that the grantor has no further interest in the parcel. For example, a bank can release a mortgage with a Quitclaim Deed. In a divorce, when one spouse is awarded the home, the other spouse may be required to relinquish his or her interest in the home - typically with a Quitclaim Deed. I can release an easement or cancel a recorded sale contract with a Quitclaim Deed. I'm just saying "Whatever interest I have, if any, is yours, but I make no guarantees that I have any interest at all."
Now if you really want to impress your real estate agent or someone at a cocktail party, casually mention a Special Warranty Deed. These deeds only warrant that the grantor (seller) did not do anything to mess up the title while he was the owner. The grantor is not on the hook for any title defects arising prior to his ownership. Big companies like to convey with Special Warranty Deeds so the potential liability for old unknown defects are not carried on their books forever.
We do lots of real estate at CVDL. Call if we can help with your next purchase or sale.