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Do grant deeds guarantee the property title is clean?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2023 | Real Estate Law

Understanding the nuances of property transactions can often feel confusing, especially when it comes to the type of deed involved. One of the most common types of deeds used in real estate transactions, particularly in California, is the grant deed. This type of deed carries certain assurances essential to the property’s transfer. However, the extent to which it guarantees a clean title– free from any adverse claims, liens or encumbrances– can significantly impact the buyer’s peace of mind and security in the transaction.

The purpose of a grant deed

A grant deed is primarily used to formalize the transition of property ownership in real estate transactions. It assures the grantee (the buyer) that the grantor (the seller) legitimately owns the title to the property and that no other party can claim they own it. It also tells the buyer that there are no hidden issues (like liens or easements) with the property that the seller hasn’t already made known. In other words, a grant deed helps protect the buyer by assuring the legal status of the property and clarifying its transfer of ownership.

What this deed promises

But does a grant deed assure that the property title is completely clean? Although a grant deed confirms that the seller hasn’t sold the property to anyone else and that there are no undisclosed encumbrances or restrictions, it doesn’t assure a clean title. A grant deed does not fully guarantee a clean title because it only covers the period during which the current owner (the grantor) held the property. It does not provide guarantees about claims or encumbrances that may have arisen before the grantor took ownership.

Other courses of action

Buyers have the option to conduct a title search or acquire title insurance should they wish to comprehensively safeguard against title-related issues. These measures may prevent future complications related to property ownership. If the grantee encounters a problem, like a lien on the property, there are some legal options. In cases of issues with the property, buyers may consider consulting an attorney to ensure a smooth transaction of the real estate purchase.