How a Texas Warranty Deed Form Works
A Texas warranty deed form allows Texas property owners to transfer real estate with a full warranty of title. A person who signs a warranty deed guarantees that he or she owns the property and has the right to convey clear title to the new owner. The warranty of title provided by a Texas warranty deed extends to all prior owners, not just the owner who signs the deed to transfer the property.
Other Names for Texas General Warranty Deeds
In Texas, a warranty deed is sometimes called a general warranty deed. The word “general” distinguishes a warranty deed from a special warranty deed, which provides a more limited warranty of title.
Relationship of General Warranty Deed Form to Warranty of Title
Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.
The distinguishing feature of a Texas warranty deed is a full warranty of title. This warranty of title includes both express and implied guarantees. The express guarantee is found in the body of the deed itself. It promises that the person signing the deed will defend against any title issues affecting the property, including those that arose before the person owned the property.
The implied guarantee comes from Texas Property Code § 5.023 and includes two promises:
- That the person signing the deed has not previously transferred the property to anyone else other than the recipient named in the deed; and
- That, at the time of the transfer, the property is free from encumbrances (things like mortgages, liens, boundary disputes, or competing claims against the property).
These promises are automatically implied when the deed uses the statutory language in the granting clause.
Because of the role of title insurance in modern Texas real estate sales, the warranty provided by a warranty deed is not as important as it once was in the sale context. Instead of relying on the seller to warrant the property, the buyer can depend on the title insurance company to protect the buyer if later title issues arise.
Comparison of Texas General Warranty Deeds to Other Forms of Texas Deeds
The full warranty of title provided by a Texas warranty deed distinguishes it from other forms of Texas deeds that offer less protection.
Texas warranty deeds are named after the warranty of title. Other deeds are named after probate avoidance features. In Texas, a life estate deed, lady bird deed, and transfer-on-death deed can all avoid probate. Because these names refer to different features, it is possible for some of these probate avoidance deeds also to be warranty deeds. For example, the same deed could be both a lady bird deed and a warranty deed.
Common Uses of General Warranty Deeds
In Texas, warranty deeds are most often used in sales of residential real estate. They are rarely used to transfer property by gift (without consideration) due to the risk they place on the transferor. People who transfer property by gift would usually prefer that the transferee assume the risk of any title issues since the transferor is not being paid for the property.
How to Create a Texas General Warranty Deed
Texas Property Code § 5.022(a) provides that “following form or a form that is the same in substance conveys a fee simple estate in real property with a covenant of general warranty” and provides this text:
The State of Texas,
County of ____________________.
Know all men by these presents, That I, __________________, of the __________________ (give name of city, town, or county), in the state aforesaid, for and in consideration of __________________ dollars, to me in hand paid by __________________, have granted, sold, and conveyed, and by these presents do grant, sell, and convey unto the said __________________, of the __________________ (give name of city, town, or county), in the state of __________________, all that certain __________________ (describe the premises). To have and to hold the above described premises, together with all and singular the rights and appurtenances thereto in any wise belonging, unto the said __________________, his heirs or assigns forever. And I do hereby bind myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators to warrant and forever defend all and singular the said premises unto the said __________________, his heirs, and assigns, against every person whomsoever, lawfully claiming or to claim the same, or any part thereof.
Witness my hand, this __________________ day of __________________, A.D. 19___.
Signed and delivered in the presence of ____________________
This form leaves a lot to be desired, and well-advised property owners would never use this alone as a deed. In practice, Texas warranty deeds are the “same in substance” as the statutory form, but contain the other information to meet the requirements of Texas law. These requirements include a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title. The deed must also meet the font size, margin, and page format requirements of Texas recording laws and include the statutory form of notary acknowledgments. These additional elements are required for a valid deed and permitted by subsection (c) of the statute, which provides that “parties to a conveyance may insert any clause or use any form not in contravention of law.”
Although the deed describes above conveys “a fee simple estate in real property with a covenant of general warranty,” section (b) of the statute says that a “covenant of warranty is not required in a conveyance.” This means that other forms of deeds—like special warranty deeds or quitclaim deeds or deeds without warranty—are also acceptable.
When creating a Texas warranty deed, it is important to get the language exactly right. Minor differences in wording can change the purpose of the deed. The Texas warranty deeds created by our Deed Generator were designed by Texas attorneys to meet the requirements of Texas law.