Washington Bargain and Sale Deed Form
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What is a Washington Bargain and Sale Deed?
A Washington bargain and sale deed form transfers Washington real estate from the current owner (grantor) to a new owner (grantee) with a warranty of title that is limited to the time period that the grantor owned the property. The grantor is not responsible for any title issues that arose before the grantor acquired the property.
A Washington bargain and sale deed form is specifically authorized by RCW 64.04.040. Under that statute, a grantor who signs as bargain and sale deed makes these guarantees:
- That the grantor owns the property free and clear of all “encumbrances” (mortgages, liens, etc.) caused by the grantor;
- That the grantee will be able to freely use the property (quiet enjoyment); and
- The grantee may look to the grantor for breaching these covenants as though they were set out in the deed itself.
If it turns out that any of these guarantees are incorrect—and if the problem relates to the period when the grantor owned the property—the grantee may sue the grantor for breaching the implied warranty contained in the bargain and sale deed.
Relationship of Bargain and Sale Deed Form to Warranty of Title
The term bargain and sale deed relates specifically to the warranty of title that the deed provides. A bargain and sale deed form includes a warranty of title that is implied by statute, meaning that the deed contains the statutory warranties even if the deed does not have specific language reciting those warranties. This warranty distinguishes a bargain and sale deed from a statutory warranty deed, which provides a greater warranty, and a quit claim deed, which provides no 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.
Bargain and Sale Deed vs. Special Warranty Deed
Other states have deeds that include a warranty of title that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property. Some states may refer to this deed as a grant deed, covenant deed, or limited warranty deed. Most states, however, use the term special warranty deed.
Special warranty deeds are also used in Washington. As in other states, a Washington special warranty deed provides a warranty of title that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property. This raises a question: Since both bargain and sale deeds and special warranty deeds provide a warranty that is limited to the period when the grantor owned the property, what is the difference between the two deed forms? There are two primary differences:
- Implied vs. Express Warranty – A bargain and sale deed includes the implied warranty of title specified in RCW 64.04.040. A special warranty deed must include language in the deed to create an express
- Source of Law – A bargain and sale deed is authorized by statute and well-grounded in Washington law. A special warranty deed is based on custom and usage. Unlike other Washington deed forms, no Washington statute recognizes special warranty deeds or provides the language needed to create a special warranty deed form.
When trying to decide whether to use a bargain and sale deed versus a special warranty deed, these two factors often support the bargain and sale deed. All else being equal, it is usually better to have a deed form that is recognized by statute and includes statutorily-defined warranties. For these reasons, bargain and sale deeds tend to be more popular in Washington. Special warranty deeds are often reserved for limited uses, like deeds from personal representatives or other fiduciaries.
How to Create a Washington Bargain and Sale Deed
Because a Washington bargain and sale deed form is authorized by statute, it is important that each deed meet the statute’s specific requirements. The deed must also meet the requirements that apply to other Washington deed forms, including 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.
Washington law has specific requirements for deeds. These requirements differ from the requirements of other states. Using a deed form from another state—or, perhaps worse, a generic fill-in-the-blank form that was not designed for use in Washington—can invalidate the deed or create title problems that remain hidden for years. Each deed prepared by our online deed preparation service was attorney-designed to meet the requirements of Washington law and to be eligible for recording in all Washington counties.