General Warranty Deed v. Special Warranty Deed

General Warranty Deed v. Special Warranty Deed

If you are getting ready to purchase real estate, it is important to understand the different types of deeds.  Two common types of deeds a buyer may see in West Virginia are a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed.  

WV Code §36-4-2 states that a General Warranty Deed is “A covenant by a grantor in a deed, "that he will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed," or a covenant of like import, or the use of the words "with general warranty" in a deed, shall have the same effect as if the grantor had covenanted that he his heirs and personal representatives will forever warrant and defend the said property unto the grantee, his heirs, personal representatives and assigns, against the claims and demands of all persons whomsoever.” 

If the buyer receives a General Warranty Deed, then the seller is making certain guarantees.  Some of those guarantees are that the property being conveyed is free of encumbrances, that the seller owns all of the rights in the real estate, that the seller has the right to convey the real estate and that the seller will defend the title to the real estate against all persons.

WV Code §36-4-3 states that a Special Warranty Deed is “A covenant by a grantor in a deed "that he will warrant specially the property hereby conveyed," or a covenant of like import, or the use of the words "with special warranty" in a deed, shall have the same effect as if the grantor had covenanted that he his heirs and personal representatives will forever warrant and defend the said property unto the grantee, his heirs, personal representatives and assigns, against the claims and demands of the grantor and all persons claiming by, through, or under him.” 

If the buyer receives a Special Warranty Deed, then the seller is still making guarantees, but only during the time the seller held title.  So, the seller is not making any guarantees that prior owners owned the property free and clear.  A Special Warranty Deed offers less protection than a General Warranty Deed.  However, a title examination by an attorney can also determine any encumbrances that are not evident from the Deed, which can help avoid problems in the future.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when purchasing property.  So before purchasing property, contact a real estate attorney to discuss your particular situation.

  There are many factors to consider when purchasing property. Jodi Cunningham explains the differences between a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed.