Georgia Warranty Deed Form
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What is a Georgia Warranty Deed Form?
A Georgia warranty deed form is a legal document used to transfer Georgia real estate from one party (the grantor or seller) to another (the grantee or buyer). A warranty deed provides the grantee with a guarantee that the grantor has clear title to the property and has the legal authority to transfer it. It provides the grantee with a “general warranty of title” that covers any undisclosed title issues throughout the property’s entire ownership history.1
How Warranty of Title Works in Georgia
A warranty of title in Georgia is a guarantee provided by the seller (grantor) to the buyer (grantee) when transferring real estate. The warranty of title assures the buyer that the grantor has clear and marketable title to the property, free from any liens or encumbrances, and has the legal right to sell the property. It protects the buyer against any third-party claims that may arise against the property’s title.
A Georgia warranty deed includes several covenants, or promises, made by the grantor:
- Covenant of right to sell. The grantor promises that he or she has the legal right to convey the property as described in the deed.
- Covenant of freedom from encumbrances. The grantor promises that the property is free from any liens, mortgages, restrictions, or other encumbrances, except for those explicitly stated in the deed.
- Covenant of quiet enjoyment. The grantor promises that the grantee will not be disturbed in their possession of the property by any third party’s claim of title.
A Georgia warranty deed that states that it provides “general warranty of title” includes the covenants listed above.2 Georgia law does not otherwise imply any warranty of title in a deed.3 The parties may choose to modify the warranty or provide additional covenants of title through express language written in the deed.
If a defect in the title is discovered after the property has been transferred, the buyer can take legal action against the seller under the warranty deed.4 The buyer’s remedies may include compensation for lost property value or the cost of clearing a lien or, in some cases, rescission of the purchase contract.5
Other Names for a Georgia Warranty Deed Form
A Georgia warranty deed form may be called a general warranty deed to distinguish it from a Georgia limited warranty deed. Deeds with a limited warranty are called special warranty deeds in many states and go by other names in other states—such as grant deed in California.
How Do Georgia Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A Georgia warranty deed is one of three Georgia deeds named after the warranty of title. The other two are quitclaim deeds and limited warranty deeds.
Georgia Quitclaim Deed
A Georgia quitclaim deed form is a type of Georgia deed that conveys only the interest that the grantor may have in the property, if any, without providing any warranties or guarantees about the title. The grantor does not promise that they have clear title or the right to convey the property, nor does the grantor guarantee that the property is free from liens or other encumbrances. The grantee receives the property “as-is” and assumes the risk of any title defects or claims against the property.
Quitclaim deeds offer the least protection for the grantee and are not used for most real estate sales—especially when purchasing from an unfamiliar party. They are often used in situations where the parties involved have a pre-existing relationship, such as a transfer to a family member, to the current owner’s living trust, or to a former spouse when settling a divorce.
Georgia Limited Warranty Deed
A Georgia limited warranty deed form is a type of deed that provides the grantee with a limited guarantee regarding the title of the property. The grantor warrants that the grantor has not sold or encumbered the property in any way during the grantor’s ownership. The grantor promises to defend the title against any claims or defects arising from the grantor’s period of ownership.
Unlike a general warranty deed, a limited warranty deed does not provide any guarantees or warranties regarding the title before the grantor’s ownership. The grantee assumes the risk of any title defects or claims arising from previous owners.
Limited warranty deeds—which are sometimes called special warranty deeds—are often used in situations where the grantor wants to provide some protection to the grantee but is unwilling or unable to provide full guarantees about the title.
Georgia Warranty Deeds and Other Georgia Deed Forms
A Georgia warranty deed can also be distinguished from Georgia life estate deeds, which are often used to avoid probate. With a Georgia life estate deed, property ownership is divided into two separate interests: a life estate and a remainder interest.
The grantor (current property owner) transfers a life estate to a life tenant (often the grantor) while simultaneously naming a remainderman (the person who will receive the property upon the life tenant’s death). The life tenant has the right to possess, use, and benefit from the property life, but a life tenant does not have full ownership rights to sell or mortgage the property without the remainderman’s consent.
Upon the life tenant’s death, the property automatically passes to the remainderman without the need for probate. This arrangement can help avoid the time-consuming and costly probate process while also allowing the life tenant to use the property during their lifetime.
Georgia Transfer-on-Death Deeds
Georgia has not yet joined the many states that have enacted transfer-on-death deed laws. As a result, transfer-on-death deeds are not available in Georgia.
Common Uses of Georgia Warranty Deed Forms
The most common use of a Georgia warranty deed form is standard real estate transactions involving purchasing or selling residential or commercial properties. The warranty deed assures the buyer that the seller has a clear and marketable title to the property.
Because of the extent of the full warranty, a grantor is not likely to use a warranty deed if the seller is not receiving payment for the property (if it is a gift). In that situation, a Georgia quitclaim deed is more often used.
How to Create a Georgia Warranty Deed Form
As with any deed, a Georgia warranty deed should be customized to reflect the specific terms and conditions of the transaction. Reliance on fill-in-the-blank forms can lead to invalid documents and future title issues. A warranty deed typically includes the following information:
- The names and addresses of the grantor and grantee;
- The legal description of the property being transferred, including its address and any identifying details such as parcel or lot numbers;
- A statement of consideration paid by the grantee (Georgia deeds usually state nominal consideration);
- Special language conveying the property to the grantee with the general warranty of title;
- The grantor’s signature and the date of the transfer; and
- Acknowledgment and notarization by a notary public, which confirms the grantor’s identity and their voluntary signing of the deed
Once the warranty deed is executed and notarized, it should be recorded with the appropriate Georgia county’s clerk of the superior court’s office to provide public notice of the property transfer and protect the grantee’s interests.
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