House Deeds 101: What Does a House Deed Look Like?

What Does a House Deed Look Like?

Like most people, you probably have a bunch of important documents stored away in your home. These could include proof of identity, car documents, insurance, and loan documents.

It could be a little difficult to sort through them and find what you’re looking for.

If you need to find your house deed but have no idea which one it is from your pile of housing documents, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to distinguish between your house deed and title.

Deed vs. Title

House deeds are legal documents necessary for transferring a property’s ownership to another person.

If you’re looking to sell your home, the deed to your house should be ready to be handed over to your buyer.

If you’re looking to buy a home, you (or your mortgage lender) should request a title search on a home. Make sure to get the deed to the house upon the completion of the sale.

On the other hand, a house title is more of a concept than a physical document. It refers to the rights that the owner has on the property.

But without a physical document (the house deed), the property title can be difficult to guarantee.

If you have the title to a property, you are the legal owner and have its rights of ownership. This means you can do what you want with the property. For example, you can modify it or add other structures as you wish.

As long as you stay within the scope of your property, you shouldn’t have any problem.

You can also gift or sell your property to other people. But again, you’ll have to draw up a house deed to legally transfer the property’s title to another person.

What’s in a Deed?

  1. Physical document: A deed should always be in writing. It can never be just a verbal agreement between two parties. It should have an actual physical document for it to be considered valid.
  2. Grantor’s and grantee’s information: A deed should also clearly identify the grantor (seller) and the grantee (buyer). Your deed should have two names (or more if the property has more than one owner). It should also have both the grantor’s and grantee’s addresses.
  3. Real property: This can be any piece of land and everything attached to it, such as a house or a road. Your deed should cover the entirety of your property and the structures within it.
  4. Words of conveyance: These clarify that the property is officially being granted to its new owner. The words don’t have to be grand or lengthy. They’re simple and direct to the point.
  5. Proof of consideration: This details any amount paid for the acquisition of the property. In some cases where the property is being given as a gift, this should say that the property is being transferred to the grantee as a gift.
  6. Signatures: For any legal document to be binding, it should be signed by both parties. But it doesn’t stop there. To be considered legal and valid, a house deed should also be notarized and filed on public record by a real estate attorney.

Types of House Deeds

Here are three different types of property deeds you might come across with.

General Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed provides proof that the seller completely and legally owns the property. In this type of deed, the seller is required to make promises (called covenants) and provide warranties to their buyer.

  • Covenant of seisin. It simply states that the grantor owns the property and therefore has the right to sell it.
  • Covenant against encumbrances. This states that the property is free from any mortgage liens or encumbrances unless otherwise specified.
  • Covenant of quiet enjoyment. This assures that the grantee can enjoy legal ownership of the property without being inconvenienced should it have a defective title.
  • Covenant of further assurance. This guarantees that the grantor will provide all the necessary documents to ensure the title is valid and legitimate.

Special Warranty Deed

A special warranty deed assures that the seller has not sold or transferred the property to anybody else. It also guarantees that there are no title issues to the property for as long as they have owned it.

But this type of property deed provides less protection for the grantee.

If there have been previous claims to the property even before its current owner took possession of it, your grantor will not be liable for any legal fees you might incur.

Because of this, a special warranty deed is only more commonly used in commercial properties rather than residential properties.

Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed offers an even lesser amount of protection. As a non-warranty deed, it only transfers the property to the grantee without any covenants and warranties.

So, if there are legal issues with the title, the grantor has no legal obligation to resolve them.

This type of deed is often used when the grantor isn’t sure about the condition of the title and wants no liability whatsoever in the real estate transaction.

It is often used when no money is involved in property transfer. This usually happens when parents transfer the property to their heirs.

If you come across a special purpose deed, they also essentially work as quitclaim deeds.

Living in Alberta

house deed canada

Image source: Griffin Real Estate

If you’re looking for a place to move into, Alberta might be the one for you. From a major city like Calgary to a smaller town like Okotoks, you’ll find a lot of great neighbourhoods where you can get settled right in.

Here’s a simple buyer’s guide that walks you through the process of buying a home in this province.

If you want to take the hassle out of the buying process, there are a lot of reliable real estate agents in Alberta. These professionals can help you find the perfect property to buy.

Realtors can also help you with all your concerns regarding house deeds and titles. To recap, here are the most common things you should see in a house deed:

  • It should be a written (or printed) document. It can never be just a verbal agreement between two parties.
  • It should clearly state the names of the grantor/s and the grantee. Their addresses should also be stated in the deed.
  • It should detail the real property—the land and everything attached to it.
  • It should include words of conveyance that officially grant the property to the grantee. The transfer of ownership should be simple and direct.
  • It should also have proof of consideration. This could be the amount paid to obtain the property. Or it could be words that state that the property is being given as a gift to the grantee.
  • It should also be signed by both the grantor and the grantee. Then, it should be notarized and filed on record for the deed to be legally binding.

Griffin Real Estate can and will answer any questions you have about house deeds. We can also help you find a title company or real estate attorney for all your legal concerns. Contact us today so we can discuss them right away!

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Okotoks Realtor | Griffin Real Estate | Brett Murrell

Brett Murrell

Founder/Realtor® Team Lead/CIR REALTY Okotoks Owner

I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, where I’ve brought dedication, hard work, trustworthiness, and loyalty with me into life and work. Farms and acreages have always been a big part of my life, and I bring those values and knowledge to my clients who seek my help. I care about what’s best for my clients, and I don’t stop until they’re happy.

Helping others goes beyond assisting them in viewings or paperwork, sometimes it’s lending an extra pair of hands unloading a U-Haul, helping with home repairs, or watching their pets.

My background in construction along with first-hand acreage living gives me an advantage over other REALTORS®. Whatever your acreage concerns are, I’m the expert on it.

There’s nothing more satisfying than helping people and teaching them along the way in their real estate journey. It’s satisfying to help them find a place they’re truly happy with.

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