North Dakota Warranty Deed Form

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What is a North Dakota Warranty Deed Form?

A North Dakota warranty deed is a legal document that transfers real estate ownership from a seller (the grantor) to a buyer (the grantee).1 In this type of deed, the seller guarantees the buyer a good, clear title to the property and promises to defend the buyer’s title against any third-party claims against the property that may arise in the future.

How Warranty of Title Works in North Dakota

A warranty of title is a guarantee from the seller to the buyer about the quality of the title a deed transfers. The warranty is written in the deed and consists of one or more covenants of title—promises about the property’s ownership status and the seller’s obligations relating to the title. A North Dakota warranty deed that provides a complete warranty of title includes the following covenants from the seller:2

  • Covenant of seisin (or seizin). The seller has complete ownership of the property.
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment. No third-party claims will disturb the buyer’s possession and use of the property.
  • Covenant of further assurance. The seller will take actions or sign documents needed to confirm the buyer’s title.
  • Covenant of general warranty. The seller promises to defend the property’s title against any third-party claims.
  • Covenant against encumbrances. There are no undisclosed encumbrances—adverse third-party interests like liens, taxes, or assessments—attached to the property.

These guarantees protect the buyer from potential title problems that may have existed before the property transfer.

How Warranty of Title Protects the New Owner

A warranty of title protects the buyer by placing on the seller the risk that title issues may be discovered in the future. If a defect emerges after the sale, the seller has a legal obligation to fix the problem.3 That may mean defending the buyer’s title against a third-party claim or compensating the buyer for any financial losses the buyer suffers due to a title problem. If the seller fails or refuses to address a title issue, the buyer may be able to sue the seller to recover damages.

Attorney Practice Note: Title insurance is often purchased to supplement a North Dakota warranty deed’s protection against title problems. A title insurance policy covers any financial loss that a buyer (or other insured person) incurs due to a title problem. Title insurance is an extra layer of protection, as it ensures there is a reliable payment source for compensation for title problems. If a title issue is discovered after a sale, a buyer who purchases title insurance can file a claim with the title insurance company for compensation for the financial damage that the title issue causes. The title insurer may also arrange for a legal defense of the buyer’s title if a third party makes a claim on the title.

Other Names for a North Dakota Warranty Deed Form

North Dakota primarily uses the name warranty deed for deeds that provide a complete warranty of title. The name general warranty deed is also used for that type of deed, as it distinguishes warranty deeds that provide a complete warranty from special warranty deeds that provide a limited warranty.

The names warranty deed and general warranty deed are the most common names in other states. A few states use alternate names—such as full warranty deed or deed with full covenants—for deeds with a complete warranty.

How Do North Dakota Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?

In North Dakota, there are several other types of deeds that can be used for real estate transfers. Along with warranty deeds, special warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds are the most commonly used to transfer North Dakota real estate. Each of these deeds provides a different level of protection to the new owner—with warranty deeds providing the most complete warranty of title.

  • North Dakota special warranty deed form. A North Dakota special warranty deed form provides the buyer with a less complete warranty than a warranty deed provides. The seller guarantees that he or she has not transferred the property to anyone else and that there are no title issues that arose during the seller’s ownership period.4 The seller makes no promises about title issues that may have arisen before the seller owned the property. Thus, a buyer who takes title through a special warranty deed assumes the risk for any title issues that may have occurred before the seller took title.
  • North Dakota quitclaim deed form. A North Dakota quitclaim deed form provides the buyer with no warranties at all. The grantor who signs a quitclaim deed simply transfers whatever interest he or she has to the new owner, without making any promises about the validity or status of the property’s title.5 A person who takes title through a quitclaim deed assumes the risk of any title problems.

A warranty deed provides the buyer with the strongest protection against title defects and places the most risk on the seller. A special warranty deed provides the buyer some protection, and a quitclaim deed provides no protection at all.

North Dakota Warranty Deeds and Other North Dakota Deed Forms

In North Dakota, there are several types of deeds that may be used in estate planning, including life estate deeds and transfer-on-death deeds.

  • North Dakota life estate deed. A life estate deed keeps a lifetime ownership interest with the current owner and gives another person (the remainder beneficiary) the right to take title when the current owner dies. A life estate deed lets the owner ensure that the property is passed on to a specific person outside probate after the owner’s death while still being able to live in the property for as long as the owner is living. A potential downside is that an owner who creates a life estate need can sell or transfer complete ownership only with the remainder beneficiary’s consent.6
  • North Dakota transfer-on-death deed. A North Dakota transfer-on-death deed form—or TOD deed—allows the property owner to keep complete ownership for life and automatically transfer the property to someone else (the beneficiary) after the owner’s death.7 TOD deeds avoid the need for probate without giving up the current owner’s right to sell or transfer the property (or revoke or amend the TOD deed) during the owner’s life.8
Attorney Practice Note: An enhanced life estate deed (or lady bird deed) is similar to a life estate deed but allows the owner of the property to retain greater control over the property during his or her lifetime. Specifically, the owner keeps the right to sell or mortgage the property without involving the remainder beneficiaries. Enhanced life estate deeds are not used in North Dakota, but the same goals can be accomplished through a transfer-on-death deed or a deed to a living trust.

Common Uses of North Dakota Warranty Deed Forms

A North Dakota warranty deed is commonly used in real estate transfers involving a purchase for fair market value. A homebuyer purchasing a residential property, for example, needs strong assurance of a good title. Mortgage lenders sometimes require warranty deeds when financing a property purchase.

A North Dakota warranty deed can be used for most transfers, but quitclaim deeds and special warranty deeds are more appropriate in some settings. For example, quitclaim deeds are often a good option when there is a pre-existing relationship between the parties or when the transfer involves no consideration given in exchange for the deed. Transfers between family members and transfers to divide property in a divorce settlement often use quitclaim deeds.

How to Create a North Dakota Warranty Deed Form

As with any deed, a North Dakota 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 North Dakota warranty deed must meet all North Dakota deed requirements, and it must include the details of the transfer. The names of the buyer and seller, a legal description of the property, and a granting clause declaring that the current owner is transferring the property must be included in the deed.

The seller must sign the warranty deed, and the new owner must certify the consideration provided for the property (or state that the deed is exempt from that requirement). The owner’s signature must be notarized. The notary public will then affix the seal to the document to make it legally binding.

After the deed is signed and notarized, it must be filed with the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located. Recording ensures that the transfer of ownership is legally recognized and that the new owner has clear title to the property.

Need a warranty deed that meets North Dakota recording requirements?

Each deed produced by our deed creation software is attorney-designed to comply with North Dakota law. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed in minutes.

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  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-10-04.
  2. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-10-03.
  3. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-10-18.
  4. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-10-19.
  5. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-10-15.
  6. N.D. Cent. Code § 47-02-33.
  7. N.D. Cent. Code § 30.1-32.1-02.
  8. N.D. Cent. Code § 30.1-32.1-09(1).