Property Deeds in Alabama
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Most people know that property deeds in Alabama are the legal instrument that you need in order to record possession of real property (land and homes). But there are actually several different kinds of deeds and which one you use in a property transaction can depend on what is being traded, the terms of the agreement, the preferences of the parties, and other considerations. There are four major types of deeds used today: the General Warranty Deed, the Special Warranty Deed, the Bargain and Sale Deed, and the Quitclaim Deed. Call our local attorney today if you have questions about which type of property deed in Alabama would work best in your situation.
The General Warranty Deed is the most commonly used deed in real estate transactions. The General Warranty Deed provides the buyer with the highest level of protection. It requires the grantor (i.e., the seller) to make certain “covenants,” or guarantees. The grantor must guarantee that they own the property and have the right to convey it, guarantee that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property unless they’re specifically mentioned in the deed, guarantee that the title is good against third parties that may attempt to lay claim to the property, and guarantee that they will deliver and document the instrument necessary to make the title good for the buyer.
The Special Warranty Deed is a deed wherein the grantor only guarantees against defects in the title that occurred while the grantor owned the property. With a General Warranty Deed, the grantor guarantees the title is clear all the way back to the origin of the property. With the Special Warranty Deed, the grantor only makes that guarantee back to the time they purchased the property. With a Special Warranty Deed, the grantor also guarantees that they own the property and have the legal right to sell the property. This kind of warranty deed is used less frequently.
The Bargain and Sale Deed is a deed that implies the grantor owns the property but makes no guarantees regarding the title. With this kind of deed, the buyer gets no protections from liens or encumbrances. Because of this, the buyer could get in trouble down the road if title defects appear or others have claims to the property. These kinds of property deeds in Alabama are typically only used in specific situations like tax sales or foreclosure actions.
Quit Claim Deeds in Alabama
The Quitclaim Deed offers the least protection for the buyer. It is called a Quitclaim Deed because when the grantor transfers the property to the buyer (i.e., the grantee), it terminates the grantor’s rights and claims to the property. Unlike with Warranty Deeds, Quitclaim Deeds contain no title covenants. So not only is the grantor not guaranteeing that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property, they aren’t even guaranteeing they own the property.
Our local estate planning attorneys are currently charging a low flat fee to prepare your quit claim deed for you to execute and record on your own in the Probate Court where the property is located Because Quit claim Deeds lack such covenants that buyers typically demand, they are rarely used except in specific circumstances. Sometimes they will be used in land transfers between family members, as gifts, or to transfer personal property into a business entity or vice-versa. Another reason you might use a Quit claim Deed is after a divorce when one spouse may deed over real property to their ex-spouse. In this situation, the buyer is usually familiar with the property and knows the grantor owns the land.
After any deed is executed, you will need to file or record it in the Probate Court in which the property is located. The probate court will charge a filing fee, which varies from county to county, and is also determined by the tax appraisal value of the property. Before you transfer real property, you should consult with a local estates and probate attorney that knows Alabama property deeds law.
Quitclaim deeds may not sound appealing, for instance, but they are generally a quicker and less expensive way to transfer property ownership if you know the owner and consider it a “low risk.” Most Alabama attorneys can prepare a deed for you for a low flat rate. Our attorneys charge $100.00 to prepare a Quitclaim deed and also offer low flat fees for the other types of deeds as well. Call today for a quick consultation to determine what type of property deed in Alabama is right for you.