When you’re in the process of selling (or purchasing) a house, you will most likely, encounter several kinds of documents: all with different names and with different uses and functions. Two of the most misunderstood documents are the warranty deed vs. quitclaim deed. Many think that these two forms are alike, but they are not.
A warranty deed is a document which the seller presents to you and is used in the majority of all sales transactions. The warranty deed simply states that the seller owns the property being sold and that it is free from any sort of liens. By presenting a warranty deed, the buyer is assured that the holder of the title has the legal right to transfer ownership of the unit and is assured that no one (financial institution or other creditors) would come after him to make a claim on the property. In the eventuality that someone does lay claim to the property that has just been purchased (or that the claims stated in the warranty are erroneous), the buyer is further protected by law and would be entitled to receive a form of compensation. Warranty deeds seldom stand alone as these documents are usually backed up by a title insurance policy.
A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, is presented to a buyer by someone who does not necessarily own the property being sold but holds responsibility for it. This occurs due to several reasons such as when the owner dies and bequeaths the property to one of his heirs, or when there is a marriage and the owner wants to include the name of his/her spouse to the title (among others). A quitclaim deed offers a lower level of protection to buyers. This kind of document is used primarily when the property in question will just stay within a family.
Incidentally, there are times when both a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed are presented to a potential buyer. An example is when the property lies on the border of rivers and or lakes; where ownership of the underwater land on which his property stands on remains unclear.
If you are unsure which kind of deed works best for your property, consult a real estate agent or a real estate lawyer.