The Virginia 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 Virginia, warranty deeds are often used:
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 Virginia counties.
A Virginia warranty deed form transfers Virginia real estate from the current owner (grantor) to the new owner (grantee) with full warranty of title. The grantor is responsible for all title issues affecting the property, including those that arose before the grantor owned the property.
A Virginia warranty deed is authorized by Va. Code Ann. § 55-68, which provides:
A covenant by the grantor in a deed, “that he will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed,” shall have the same effect as if the grantor had covenanted that he, his heirs and personal representatives will forever warrant and defend such property unto the grantee, his heirs, personal representatives and assigns, against the claims and demands of all persons whomsoever.
The last phrase (“against the claims and demands of all persons whomsoever”) provides the full general warranty of title that extends to all claims, including those that arose from the acts or omissions of prior owners.
A Virginia warranty deed form gives the property to the grantee with the “English covenants of title.” Those covenants include:
These covenants place all of the risk on the grantor and, conversely, provide the most protection to the grantee.
A Virginia warranty deed form is often called a general warranty deed form. Including the word “general” clarifies that the deed differs from a “special” warranty deed that provides a more limited warranty of title.
The term general warranty deed refers exclusively to the warranty of title provided by the deed. It distinguishes a general warranty deed from two other Virginia deed forms that are also named after their warranty of title:
A general warranty deed also differs from two types of deeds that are often used for estate planning (probate avoidance) purposes:
Because a life estate deed may drafted to include a full warranty of title, a life estate deed may also be a general warranty deed.
Most grantors would be unwilling to give the broad warranty of title included in a Virginia warranty deed form unless they are being compensated for the transfer. For this reason, Virginia warranty deeds are rarely used outside of the sale context. Even in the sale context, the grantor will almost always require a title insurance policy to shift the risk of title issues to a third-party title insurance company.
A Virginia warranty deed is only valid if it meets the requirements of Virginia law. These requirements include 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.
The deed must also include the correct vesting and warranty language to classify it as a general warranty deed. The inclusion or omission of a single word can result in a completely different warranty from the one that is intended.
Because Virginia’s legal requirements differ from those of other states, it is important that the deed be state-specific. Each deed created by our online deed preparation service was attorney-designed to meet the requirements of Virginia law and be eligible for recording in all Virginia counties.