A deed is a form used for transferring ownership of a property from a seller (grantor) to a buyer (grantee). Once completed, the deed must be recorded with the local county recorder.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Deed of Trust – An alternative to a mortgage, a deed of trust is an agreement formed between a home buyer, a financial institution, and a neutral trustee. With this contract, the trustee holds on to the title of the property until the borrower has paid the loan back.
General Warranty Deed – Provides the most security to the grantee out of all of the deed types. Guarantees that 1) the property has not been sold to any third party; 2) the grantor is the true and rightful owner, and; 3) the title is free of any defects and encumbrances.
Lady Bird Deed – Used for conveying property after one passes away. Offered in 29 states.
Quit Claim Deed – These deeds are quicker to complete as it involves less details, but it offers no protection for the grantee with regard to the quality of the title and assurances of ownership.
Special Warranty Deed – Similar to a general warranty deed but only provides assurances for the time the seller owned the property (i.e., does not cover any previous owners).
Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) – Used for transferring property outside of probate after the owner dies. The person conveying the property retains full ownership rights while they are still alive.
A deed is a legal document used for transferring legal title to a property. It includes two (2) parties: the grantor (owner/seller) and the grantee (recipient/buyer). By completing and signing a deed, the grantor effectively releases any interest they have in the property.
Deeds that offer little guarantees to the recipient (such as a quit claim deed) can involve more risk to the buyer as there is no affirmation from the seller that they’re the true owner (or that there aren’t other owners of the property). For transfers to one’s kin or descendants, a quit claim deed can be beneficial due to the relative ease with which it can be put into effect. Higher value transactions, on the other hand, benefit from using deeds with guarantees to the quality of the title, such as general or special warranty deeds.
The table below contains the signing requirements for deeds in all fifty (50) states. It’s important to note that Notaries Public and witnesses only need to verify the signature of the grantor (seller).
|Alabama||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 35-4-20|
|Arkansas||2 Witnesses AND Notarization||§ 16-47-106|
|Connecticut||2 Witnesses AND Notarization||§ 47-5|
|Florida||2 Witnesses AND Notarization||§ 695.26|
|Georgia||1 Witness AND Notarization||§§ 44-5-15 & 44-5-30|
|Illinois||Notarization||§ 765 ILCS 5/20|
|Kentucky||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 382.130|
|Louisiana||2 Witnesses AND Notarization||§ 1839|
|New Hampshire||Notarization||§ 477:3|
|New Jersey||Notarization||§ 46:4-1|
|New Mexico||Notarization||§ 47-1-44|
|New York||Notarization||§ 306|
|North Carolina||Notarization||§ 47-38|
|North Dakota||Notarization||§ 47-19-03|
|Oklahoma||Notarization||16 § 26|
|Pennsylvania||Notarization||21 § 42|
|Rhode Island||Notarization||§ 34-11-1.1|
|South Carolina||2 Witnesses AND Notarization (Notary can act as 1 witness)||§ 30-5-30|
|South Dakota||1 Witness OR Notarization||§ 43-25-26|
|Tennessee||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 66-5-106|
|Texas||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 12.001|
|Virginia||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 55.1-600|
|West Virginia||2 Witnesses OR Notarization||§ 39-1-2|
Where to Record a Deed
After signing the deed in accordance with state requirements, the grantor(s) will need to bring the deed in person to the county recorder in the same county or district in which the property is located.
- Acknowledgement – The act of verifying the identity of the signer (the grantor) and acknowledging their signatures on the document. Every state either requires notarization or permits it as a method of authenticating a deed.
- Encumbrance – A claim against a property from someone that is not an owner. Types of encumbrances include:
- CC&Rs (Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions) – Also known as “deed restrictions,” these restrict the usage, appearance, and/or maintenance of the property. For example, a home association may ban RVs from parking in the driveway.
- Easements – Provides a third party with the right to use the land, such as a right-of-way or a utility line.
- Encroachment – Occurs when an object (such as a building) extends into the property. Examples include trees, shrubbery, fences, or sheds and other outbuildings.
- Liens – A lien is a 3rd party claim to the property. The property acts as collateral and can be claimed should the debtor default on the payment/agreement.
- Conveyance – Transfer/assignment of interest (ownership) in property from a person or entity to another.
- Grantor – This is the person (or entity) that is transferring property to the Grantee.
- Grantee – The new owner of the property (whether by purchase or gift).
- Witness – A third party that witnesses one (1) or more parties sign a document in person or via electronic means (if permitted).
- Disinterested witness – A disinterested witness is a person that does not benefit or have any stake in the transaction; they should not be someone that has a personal relationship with the grantor, including family members, employees, and employers.
- Subscribing witness – A subscribing witness is a person that observed the grantor sign the deed in person.