This is the next article in our series on the various types of real estate deeds in Oklahoma.  In the last article, we listed the various types of Oklahoma Deeds we will be discussing throughout the series.  This article is dedicated to a specific type of deed: the Warranty Deed.

What is a Title to a real property?

We have all heard the term “title” thrown around during real property conversations.  But there seems to be much confusion as to what it actually is.  Is it a physical document?  Is it something that is given to the new owner of the land?  The answer to both of these questions is a resounding no.

A property title isn’t a document or a thing – it’s a concept.  You own a property if you hold the title to it.  Holding a title shows that you have all the legal rights associated with the ownership and use of the property.  These include the right to possess, right to use, right to manage, right to sell, rent, or transfer, and the right to limit access – also referred to as the bundle of rights.

Imagine you are buying a home.  The seller transfers his rights to the house to you during the closing.  This transfer is then recorded with the County Clerk to memorialize the new ownership of the property.  The transferring of the bundle of rights from the seller to you is what’s referred to as the transfer of title.  A title holder is protected from any competing claims or disputes over ownership.

What is a Deed to a real property?

Now that we know what a title is, it leads to the next topic, a Deed.  In contrast to a title, a property deed is a legal document that officially transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer.  In other words, a deed is a physical document that memorializes the transfer of property interest and proves that you hold title to the land.

For instance, let’s say you are buying a home.  At the closing, among other paperwork, you are given a deed that transfers title from the seller to you.  For a deed to be valid it must state the names of the buyer and seller, describe the property, and include the seller’s signature.

The deed must be legally delivered and accepted.  This is generally accomplished at the closing where the grantor (seller) delivers the deed to the grantee (buyer), and then the grantee accepts it.  Although not required for conveyance, post-delivery, the deed should be recorded with the local county office in which the property is located.  Doing so puts the public on notice that you are the owner and helps avoid significant problems such as conflicting ownership claims.

What is a Warranty Deed?

An Oklahoma Warranty Deed is a type of deed that is executed during the transfer of real property interest from the grantor (seller) to the grantee (buyer).  This is the best type of deed because it offers the most protection for a buyer.  An Oklahoma warranty deed assures the buyer that the seller possesses rightful ownership of the property and has the authority to transfer it to the buyer.  Additionally, it guarantees the buyer and their heirs peaceful and uninterrupted possession of the property.  Furthermore, the seller pledges to defend the title against any legal challenges from individuals who may assert ownership claims.

The warranty deed also implies that the property’s title is free of any undisclosed liens, mortgages, or any other title defects.  This is an important assurance to the buyer because it essentially requires the seller to pledge that there are no encumbrances on the land.  If some title defect emerges subsequent to the passing of the title, then the buyer may sue the seller for a breach of warranty.  Additionally, as discussed earlier, the seller who conveyed the property with a warranty deed has a legal duty to defend the buyer’s title against anybody who claims ownership interest in it.

Imagine you bought your home from the seller, where the seller agreed to transfer the ownership via an Oklahoma warranty deed.  You move in and begin making plans for the furniture in your new home.  Shortly thereafter, you receive a letter from a bank claiming a lien on the house due to unpaid debts by the seller.  Because the deed includes warranties, you get to seek legal action against the seller for breaching the warranty of clear title.

Here is a link to a Sample Warranty Deed; courtesy of Oklahoma County.  Please note that this document is provided for reference purpose only and may not align with your specific legal scenarios.  Its highly advised to seek guidance from a qualified attorney before executing a warranty deed.

Real estate lawyer OKC

If you are involved in a real estate transaction or apprehensive about the property transaction process, we are here to help.  Whether you are looking for a deed transfer lawyer or an attorney to assist you in navigating any real estate matter, contact Niroula Law today.  You can reach us online or by telephone to get in touch with a real estate law firm and speak to an OKC real estate lawyer.  Proudly serving Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, and Logan County.