Types of Deeds in Arizona and Utah Real Estate Transactions


Types of Deeds in Arizona and Utah Real Estate Transactions

There are three types of deeds commonly used to convey land: (1) warranty deed (or a general or full warranty deed); (2) special warranty deed; and (3) quitclaim deed (or a deed without covenants).

Please note that, while this article accurately describes applicable law on the subject covered at the time of its writing, the law continues to develop with the passage of time. Accordingly, before relying upon this article, care should be taken to verify that the law described herein has not changed.
When transferring the ownership of real estate, it is important to know what deed you are giving or receiving. The person giving the deed is the seller, also known as the grantor, and the person receiving the deed is the buyer or grantee.

I. Warranty Deed

The most common form of deed with full covenants is the warranty deed.[1] A warranty deed expressly guarantees the grantor has good, clear title and covenants the quality of title, including warranties of seisin, quiet enjoyment, right to convey, freedom from encumbrances, and defense of title against all claims.[2] Thus, a warranty deed is preferred as it promises the grantor has good title to the property and provides warranties for a variety of defects, whether the defects were caused by the grantor or someone else.

II. Special Warranty Deed

A special warranty deed provides for a conveyance and covenant.[3] When a special warranty deed is executed, ownership of the real property named in the deed is conveyed to the grantee, together with all appurtenances, rights and privileges belonging to that property.[4] Moreover, in a special warranty deed the grantor covenants that the property is free from all encumbrances made by that grantor and that he or she will forever warrant and defend the grantee’s title of the property against any lawful claim and demand of the grantor and any person claiming or to claim by, through, or under the grantor.[5]

Accordingly, in a special warranty deed the grantor’s warranty is limited to defects or encumbrances caused by the grantor’s acts or omissions, or those who hold by, through or under the grantor; it does not warrant against defects that arose from someone else prior to the grantor’s ownership, unlike a warranty deed.[6] In such a case, if the defect if based on events which occurred while the property was in the hands of a prior titleholder, then the grantee will have to look to the covenants, if any, contained in the deed from a prior titleholder, and cannot recover against the immediate grantor.[7]

III. Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed transfers a grantor’s complete interest or claim in certain real property to a grantee, but does not warrant the extent of the grantor’s interest, if any, or that the title is even valid.[8] In other words, a quitclaim deed says “I am giving you whatever interest I have in this property, but I am not making any promises about it as my title might not be good and I might not even own the property, but whatever I have is now yours”, whereas a warranty deeds says “I promise I own the property I am giving to you and the title to it is good”.[9] Thus, a quitclaim deed is risky and less preferable than a warranty deed. Quitclaim deeds, however, are helpful in clearing up title problems, transferring property between divorcing spouses, or in informal transactions between friends or family.[10]
[1] 14-81A Powell on Real Property Section 81A.03 (2006). See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 33-402 (2006) and Utah Code Ann. Section 57-1-12 (2006) for the warranty deed statutes in Arizona and Utah.

[2] Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004). See also Utah Code Ann. Section 57-1-12 for the effect of a warranty deed in Utah, which sets forth the same covenants as described above.

[3] Section 57-1-12.5.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] 14-81A Powell on Real Property Section 81A.03 (2006).

[7] Id.

[8] Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004). See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 33-402 and Utah Code Ann. Section 57-1-13 for the quitclaim deed statutes in Arizona and Utah.

[9] Transferring Property, FindLaw

[10] Id.


If you have questions regarding a possible real estate matter, or to arrange for a consultation concerning your legal matter, please contact Robert Mitchell at rdm@tblaw.com or at (602) 452-2730.
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