Texas Warranty Deed Form
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What is a Texas Warranty Deed Form?
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 (the grantor) guarantees that he or she owns the property and has the right to transfer clear title to the new owner (the grantee). The warranty extends to all prior owners, not just the owner who signs the warranty deed that transfers the property.
How Warranty of Title Works in Texas
A deed that transfers Texas real estate with a warranty of title guarantees the new owner will receive good, clear title to the property. The warranty consists of one or more legal promises—called covenants of title—that the current owner who signs the deed makes to the new owner. A Texas deed that provides a complete warranty has the following covenants:
- Covenant of seisin. The current owner actually owns the real estate that the deed transfers.
- Covenant of right to convey. The current owner has the legal right to transfer the real estate to the new owner.
- Covenant against encumbrance. There are no liens, mortgages, or other adverse third-party interests attached to the property.
- Covenant of general warranty. The current owner will stand behind the property’s title and defend the title against third-party claims.1
A Texas warranty deed provides warranty of title based on 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 a Texas law that implies promises based on language in a deed’s granting clause.2
How Warranty of Title Protects the New Owner
Warranty of title protects the new owner against title problems—such as undisclosed liens, boundary disputes with a neighboring parcel, or a defective or fraudulent deed in the property’s chain of title. The warranty is essentially the current owner’s agreement to bear the risk of any unknown issues with the property’s title—including by defending the title against adverse claims asserted by third parties. If a title problem arises, the new owner has a legal right to recover any resulting financial loss from the prior owner who signed the deed.3 This includes a right to sue the transferor for breach of warranty if needed.4
Other Names for a Texas Warranty Deed Form
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. In a few states, the term statutory warranty deed refers to a deed that provides a complete warranty based on a statutory form deed or similar rule. In Texas, statutory warranty deed is not a common term.
How Do Texas Warranty Deed Forms Relate to Other Forms of Deeds?
A Texas warranty deed form provides a complete that keeps all risk of title problems with the transferor and covers the property’s entire history. A warranty deed’s full warranty of title distinguishes it from other forms of Texas deeds that offer the new owner less protection.
Texas Special Warranty Deed Form
A Texas special warranty deed form transfers real estate with a limited warranty—splitting the risk of title problems between the current owner and new owner. The current owner guarantees a good title, but the guarantee only extends to title issues that arose while the current owner owned the property.5
Texas Quitclaim Deed Form
A Texas quitclaim deed form releases with no warranty whatever interest the person signing the deed holds in the property. The new owner receives the title (if any) that the transferor has the legal power to transfer and bears the risk of any title issues. Texas title insurers are skeptical of quitclaim deeds, so deeds without warranty are more commonly used to transfer Texas real estate.
Texas Deed without Warranty Form
A Texas deed without warranty also transfers real estate with no warranty of title—similar to a quitclaim deed. The difference is that a quitclaim deed gives the current owner’s interest in the property (if any) to the new owner, but a deed without warranty transfers the property itself.
Attorney Practice Note: Title insurance is used in almost all modern Texas real estate sales. As the role of title insurance has expanded, the warranty provided by a warranty deed has become less important in the sale context than it once was. Title insurance lets the buyer rely on the title insurance company for protection from title issues instead of relying on a seller’s warranty.
Texas Warranty Deeds and Other Texas Deed Forms
Texas warranty deeds are named after the general warranty of title they provide. Other Texas deeds are named after their probate avoidance features. In Texas, a life estate deed, lady bird deed, and transfer-on-death deed can all avoid probate and are therefore popular for estate planning. The three types of estate-planning differ in how much control the current owner keeps and when the deed becomes legally effective.
- A Texas transfer-on-death deed—or TOD deed—names a beneficiary to take title when the current owner dies without giving up any of the owner’s property rights during life.6
- A Texas life estate deed allows the current owner to keep the property until the owner dies, and it gives a named beneficiary a vested right to take title upon the owner’s death. The owner’s right to sell or mortgage the property during life are limited by the beneficiary’s vested future interest.
- A Texas lady bird deed (or enhanced life estate deed) functions like a regular life estate deed, but the owner keeps the right to transfer or mortgage the property until the owner’s death.
Because these names refer to features other than the deed’s warranty, it is possible for some estate-planning deeds to have more than one correct name. For example, the same Texas deed could be both a lady bird deed and a warranty deed.
Common Uses of Texas Warranty Deed Forms
In Texas, warranty deeds are most often used in sales of residential real estate. They are rarely used to transfer property as a gift without any consideration—or value provided in exchange. This is due to the risk that warranty deeds place on the transferor. Someone transferring real estate as a gift typically prefers for the transferee to assume the risk of any title issues since the transferor receives no payment for the property.
How to Create a Texas Warranty Deed Form
Texas real estate law provides a statutory deed form that can serve as a starting point for creating a warranty deed.7 Although the statutory form has language needed for the warranty, Texas has additional deed requirements that the statutory form does not address. Therefore, the statutory form alone is insufficient for a valid, recordable deed that accomplishes both parties’ goals.
A quality Texas warranty deed form can borrow from the statutory language, but it must also contain other information to meet the requirements of Texas law. These requirements include a valid legal description, a statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title (if there is more than one new owner). A warranty deed must also meet Texas’ deed-formatting requirements—for example, font size, margins, and page format—and contain the statutory notary acknowledgment form.
Texas law expressly allows the parties to a deed to “insert any clause or use any form not in contravention of law.”8 So, the statutory form can be modified to satisfy other necessary elements of Texas law and to match the parties’ agreed transfer terms. The parties may want to modify the deed to define the scope of the deed’s warranty or to limit the ownership interest that the deed transfers.
When creating a Texas warranty deed, it is important to get the language exactly right. Minor differences in wording can change the purpose or legal effect of the deed. A deed designed for another state may be invalid or unrecordable if used in Texas. The Texas warranty deeds created by our deed creation software were designed by Texas attorneys to meet the requirements of Texas law.
Need a warranty deed that meets Texas recording requirements?
Each deed produced by deed creation software is attorney-designed to comply with Texas law. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed in minutes.
- Tex. Prop. Code §§ 5.022; 5.033; Chi. Title Ins. Co. v. Cochran Invs., 602 S.W.3d 895 (Tex. 2020).
- Tex. Prop. Code § 5.023(a).
- Stumhoffer v. Perales, 459 S.W.3d 158 (Tex. App. 2015).
- Tex. Prop. Code § 5.022(b).
- Paul v. Houston Oil Co. of Texas, 211 S.W.2d 345 (Tex. Civ. App. 1948).
- Tex. Est. Code § 114.051.
- Tex. Prop. Code § 5.022.
- Tex. Prop. Code § 5.022.