Illinois Warranty Deed Form – Summary
The Illinois warranty deed is a form of deed that provides an unlimited warranty of title. It makes an absolute guarantee that the current owner has good title to the property. The warranty is not limited to the time that the current owner owned the property. This means that the current owner could be legally responsible for title issues that arose before the current owner acquired the property. In Illinois, warranty deeds are often used:
- When a buyer is purchasing residential property from a seller for full value;
- When the buyer does not intend to purchase title insurance; or
- In other circumstances where the current owner is comfortable with the legal risk associated with an unlimited warranty of title.
Special language is required to ensure that the deed qualifies as a warranty deed. This language is automatically included by our deed preparation service and valid in all Illinois counties.
How an Illinois Warranty Deed Form Works
An Illinois warranty deed form is a type of deed used to transfer real estate with a full warranty of title. When a property owner signs an Illinois warranty deed, he or she makes full guarantees about the property. These guarantees give the new owner the ability to sue the previous owner if there is a problem with the title to the property.
Other Names for Illinois Warranty Deeds
An Illinois warranty deed form is sometimes called a general warranty deed to distinguish it from a special warranty deed. Avoiding confusion between these two deed forms is important. Compared to a special warranty deed, a general warranty deed makes broader promises and therefore places more risk on the owner.
Relationship of General Warranty Deed Form to Warranty of Title
Of all of the forms if Illinois deeds, an Illinois warranty deed form provides the broadest warranty of title. A person who transfers property by warranty deed promises:
- That she will be legally responsible for any claims or defects relating to problems with title to the property, including claims or defects that arose before she owned the property;
- That she owns a full (fee simple) interest in the real estate;
- That she has the legal authority to transfer the real estate to the new owner;
- That the real estate has no mortgages or liens (encumbrances) other than those disclosed in the deed;
- That the new owner can use and enjoy the property without interference by the prior owner or anyone else claiming title to the property; and
- That if it turns out that she did not legally own the property but later acquires it, the title will automatically transfer to the new owner as soon as she acquires it (after-acquired title).
These broad promises provide the most protection to the new owner and, conversely, create the most risk for the prior owner.
The warranty given by a warranty deed has grown less important with the rise of title insurance to allocate risk. Title insurance places the risk on a third party—the title insurance company—which is usually a preferable arrangement for both the transferor and the transferee. Still, warranty deeds continue to be routinely used in Illinois real estate transactions.
Comparison of Illinois Warranty Deeds to Other Forms of Illinois Deeds
The warranty of title provided by an Illinois warranty deed form differs from warranty provided by other forms of Illinois deeds. An Illinois quit claim deed form provides no warranty of title, and an Illinois special warranty deed form provides a limited warranty of title. Both of these other types of deeds provide less protection to the new owner and less liability to the previous owner. The full warranty of title provided by an Illinois warranty deed distinguishes it from these other deeds.
The designation of a deed as a warranty deed deals with warranty of title. Other deeds are sometimes named based on other features. For example, an Illinois life estate deed is named after the probate avoidance feature associated with life estate deeds, not because of anything related to a warranty of title. This means that a life estate deed could also be a warranty deed under Illinois law.
Common Uses of Warranty Deeds
Warranty deeds are most often used in the sale context when money is changing hands as part of the transfer. They are most popular for sales of single-family residences. Transfers of commercial are multi-family residential property are usually made by special warranty deed instead of warranty deed.
Warranty deeds are rarely used for transfers between friends or family members. Instead, transfers between friends or family members made with an Illinois quitclaim deed or Illinois special warranty deed. Likewise, transfers to living trusts or LLCs often use a special warranty deed instead of a warranty deed.
How to Create an Illinois Warranty Deed
The statutory authorization of Illinois warranty deeds is found in 765 ILCS 5/9, which states in part:
Deeds for the conveyance of land may be substantially in the following form:
The grantor (here insert name or names and place of residence), for and in consideration of (here insert consideration), conveys and warrants to (here insert the grantee’s name or names) the following described real estate (here insert description), situated in the County of …., in the State of Illinois.
A deed that is in this same general format includes the warranties described above, even if the warranties are not stated in the deed.
Like other statutory formats, the format used in the statute leaves a lot to be desired. In practice, Illinois deed preparers use the legislative form to structure one part of the deed—the vesting paragraph. The remainder of the deed is designed to comply with other legal and practical requirements, including title insurance guidelines.
In addition to the warranty language, the deed should include other elements like a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title, font size and page format requirements, and signature and notarization requirements. Each of these elements is important and should be properly worded.
It is important to get the language right. Failure to include the proper language could result in a different type of deed or, worse, require a costly court proceeding to interpret the document. The best approach is to ensure that the deed contains correct and consistent language when it is first created. The deeds prepared by our Deed Generator were designed by attorneys to include the right language for Illinois warranty deeds.