Arizona Deeds

A deed is a legal instrument used to convey ownership of property, often real property or rights associated therewith, and which is recorded with a county recorder's office. Generally, three types of deeds are used to convey property that is being sold in Arizona: 1) warranty deed, 2) special warranty deed, 3) quit claim deed.

In large part, the principle difference between these deeds relates to the warranties made by the seller/grantor as to his/her title to the property (ownership interest in the property).

1) Warranty Deed

A warranty deed, or general warranty deed, is a document in which the grantor or seller guarantees that he/she holds good title to a piece of real property and has a right to sell it to the grantee or buyer. The guarantee and warranty is not limited to the period for which the grantor owns the property; rather, it covers all prior periods of time.

A warranty deed specifically includes six common law covenants that are effectively divided into two sets of three covenants: 1) Present Covenants & 2) Future Covenants,

a) Present Covenants

Present covenants are those promises that a grantor makes at the time of the conveyance.

i) Covenant of Seisin

This covenant warrants that that grantor is the owner of the real property described in the deed.

ii) Covenant of Right to Convey

This covenant warrants that the grantor has the legal right to convey title to the real property.

iii) Covenant Against Encumbrances

This covenant warrants that there are no encumbrances on the property, e.g. liens.

b) Future Covenants

Future covenants are those promises that a grantor makes about his/her future actions on behalf of the grantee.

i) Covenant of Warranty

This covenant warrants that the grantor will defend the grantee against other claimants to the real property.

ii) Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

This covenant warrants that the grantee's possession of the real property will not be distributed by another holding superior title to the real property.

iii) Covenant of Further Assurances

This covenant assures the grantee that the grantor will take reasonable action to perfect the grantee's title if the grantor neglected to do so.

A grantor/seller can, however, limit the specific warranties applicable to the property via the language used in a particular deed.

In essence, the grantor(s) of a warranty deed is/are saying:

I/We own this property. There are no issues that will affect your title to the property, but if there are, I/We will pay to defend your title to the property, cure such issues, and/or pay damages to you that arise from such issues.

Although such a statement is incredibly broad, grantors are willing to make such warranties because such warranties have been made to them through the warranty deed via which they received title to the property.

Warranty deeds are used in many different types of transactions, including both residential and commercial.

Special Warranty Deed

Unlike a warranty deed, which warrants the title to the property during the time in which the seller/grantor owned the property and all other periods of time, a special warranty deed warrants the title only as to the time during which the grantor/seller owned the property.

In essence, the grantor(s) of a special warranty deed is/are saying:

I/We own this property. There are no issues that will affect your title to the property, which arose while I owned the property, but if there are, I/We will pay to defend your title to the property, cure such issues, and/or pay damages to you that arise from such issues.

Although such a statement is still quite broad, it is much narrower in scope than that of a warranty deed.

Special warranty deeds are used in situations where the grantor/seller is willing to warrant that he/she has not caused any title issues while he/she has owned the property and are often used to transfer property to or from limited liability entities or trusts.

Quit Claim Deed

Unlike the other two types of deeds, a grantor/seller makes no warranties as to the title of the property via quit-claim deed; rather, a grantor/seller only states that he/she is conveying his/her interest in the property.

In essence, the grantor(s) of a quit claim deed is/are saying:

I/We do not know if I/we own this property or any interest associated therewith, but I/we give to you whatever interest I/we have in the property.

The differences between this statement and the two above are significant and should give a grantee/buyer pause to more closely scrutinize the grantor/seller's title to the property before proceeding.

Quit claim deeds are used in many different scenarios, but are often used to finalize or settle a boundary dispute or similar situation.

This brief overview of some important considerations associated with Arizona deeds is by no means comprehensive. Always seek the advice of a competent professional when making important financial and legal decisions.

Arizona AttorneyDouglas K. Cook is an attorney with over 40 years of experience. Although Cook & Cook's office is located in Mesa, Arizona, the attorneys at Cook & Cook represent clients throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan area including the following east valley cities: Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Chandler, & Gilbert.

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