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Question: What is a deed?



A deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate.  Along with legal description of the property, a deed also includes the names of the buyers (grantee) and the name of the sellers (grantor).


The deed is signed by the person transferring the property and the seller’s signature must be notarized. A deed for property must always be in writing, and it must follow state laws. The deed language or forms or even paper sizes may defer by state, so it is important to have an experienced real estate attorney prepare and review the deed to ensure that is properly executed. There are many types of deeds such as a Quitclaim Deed and Grant Deed more commonly called a General Warranty or Statutory Warranty Deed.  There are also Fee Simple Deeds, Special Warranty Deeds and Specialized Deeds with names like “Trustee’s Deed” or “Personal Representative’s Deed” which are commonly used in Florida.


Quitclaim Deed


A quitclaim transfers any ownership interest the seller has in the property, but makes no promises (or warranties) about what that interest is or that title is good. Quitclaim deeds are most commonly used to clear up title problems, to transfer property between spouses after divorce, or in informal transactions between friends and family.


While this type of deed conveys whatever title the grantor may have, in executing a quit claim deed, the grantor is not representing that he owns the property or that he has the right to convey. Quit claim deeds may not be used a root of title under the Florida Marketable Record Title Act. Quit claim deeds are frequently used to help clear title problems or clouds on the title to property. There is no statutory form for a quit claim deed in Florida.

Statutory Warranty / General Warranty Deed


A warranty deed offers the greatest protection for buyers since the seller must promise good title to the property, with no liens and encumbrances not disclosed in the deed.  The seller also agrees to defend against any defects found in the deed.


This type of deed fully warrants title to the property being conveyed against any and all claims. It offers the broadest warranty of any of the deeds. The reason for it also being called a statutory warranty deed is because a form for it is set out in the Florida Statutes. Statutory warranty deeds are used in most residential real estate transactions in Florida.

Fee Simple Deed

Fee Simple Deeds are used quite frequently in Florida. A fee simple deed is a quit claim deed used to convey title to property; it contains no warranties.

Special warranty deed

A special warranty deed gives only a limited warranty of title. It warrants the title but only against claims of people who are claiming by, through, or under the grantor in the deed. There is no statutory form for a special warranty deed in Florida. Special warranty deeds are frequently used in commercial real estate transactions and in deeds from developers of condominiums or subdivisions.

Specialized deeds

Sometimes deeds with names like “trustee’s deed” or “personal representative’s deed” are used in Florida. These titles refer to the type of person who is executing the deed, not the type of deed. Such deeds may be either a statutory warranty deed, a special warranty deed, or a quit claim deed.