Florida Quitclaim Deed vs. Warranty Deed

In Florida, when transferring real estate, the type of deed you choose can significantly affect both the legal protection afforded to the buyer and the obligations imposed on the seller.

Two common types of deeds used in property transactions are quitclaim deeds and warranty deeds.

What Is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed transfers any interest the grantor (the person selling or transferring the property) might have in the property to the grantee (the recipient) without any warranties or guarantees that the grantor actually holds clear title to the property.

Essentially, quitclaim deeds come with no promises about the quality of the property title.

Key Characteristics of Quitclaim Deeds:

  • No Warranty. Does not assure the grantee of a clear title; it simply transfers the grantor’s rights, if any, to the grantee.
  • Speed and Simplicity. Often used between family members, in divorce settlements, or in other situations where the property is not being sold for significant monetary consideration.
  • Risk. Grantees receive no protection against liens, encumbrances, or other title defects.

What Is a Warranty Deed?

A warranty deed, by contrast, offers the grantee the highest level of protection. It guarantees that the grantor holds clear title to the property and has the right to sell it.

Warranty deeds include warranties that the property is free from all encumbrances and that the grantor will defend against any claims to the property by others.

Key Characteristics of Warranty Deeds:

  • Guarantee of Title. The grantor guarantees that they have a clear title to the property, free of other claims.
  • Protection. Provides strong legal recourse for the grantee if any claims against the property title arise after the sale.
  • Common Use. Typically used in traditional buy-sell transactions where the buyer is paying for a guarantee of clear title.

Difference Between Quitclaim Deeds and Warranty Deeds

Protection Offered

A quitclaim deed offers no protection regarding the validity of the title. It is best used when the risk is minimal or acceptable to the grantee, such as when transferring property between family members.

Unlike a quitclaim deed, a warranty deed protects the buyer in the transaction and is used where the buyer requires assurance of a clear title.

Use Case

Quitclaim deeds are suitable for non-commercial transfers where the parties know each other and the property’s history is clear. On the other hand, warranty deeds are used for commercial transactions and situations where the buyer wants assurance of the title’s validity and freedom from undisclosed encumbrances.

Legal Implications

With a quitclaim deed, the grantee has limited legal recourse against the grantor if title issues arise. With a warranty deed, if title defects appear, the grantee can potentially sue the grantor.

Gideon Alper

About the Author

I’m an attorney who specializes in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have been practicing law for almost 15 years.

I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.