Warranty Deeds in Florida
A warranty deed in Florida transfers ownership of real estate with full warranty of title. A warranty deed guarantees that the purchaser receives good and valid title to the property.
The person who signed the warranty deed could be held liable to the new owner for any problems or issues with the property’s chain of title. For example, suppose a seller sells the property to a buyer with a warranty deed. Later, the buyer discovers that another person had a prior valid claim to the property title. Suppose this other person sues the buyer to recover the property. In this example, the buyer has a claim against the seller for their financial loss due to the other person’s claim because the seller guaranteed good title in their warranty deed.
Requirements for Warranty Deeds
A warranty deed includes five covenants, or warranties of title:
- Covenant of seisin (seller warrants that they are the sole owner of the property)
- Covenant of the right to convey (seller warrants that they have the legal right to convey the property)
- Covenant against encumbrances (seller warrants that there are no undisclosed restrictions or encumbrances against the property, such as liens, judgments, or other limitations)
- Covenant of quiet enjoyment (seller warrants that the buyer will not be affected by a defect in title)
- Covenant of general warranty (seller warrants that the seller will protect buyer from any harm caused by title defects)
When Are Warranty Deeds Used in Florida?
A warranty deed is the most common type of deed used between a buyer and seller of Florida real estate. A warranty deed places substantial risk on the property seller. Therefore, a seller is not generally willing to execute a warranty deed unless compensated monetarily by the buyer through a purchase and sale transaction.
Title Insurance with Warranty Deeds
In almost all buyer-seller transactions involving warranty deeds in Florida both the buyer and the seller will purchase title insurance. The title insurance will conduct a title search and ensure that the seller has good and valid title to the property. Then, if the buyer discovers that there is a title issue, the buyer makes an insurance claim with the title insurance provider to reimburse them for the financial loss.
The title insurance in a sense substitutes for the warranties provided by the warranty deed. The buyer who discovers a title property likely will make a claim against the insurer rather than asserting a claim against the seller for breach of title warranties.
In most real estate sales, a closing agent or title company will supply a form warranty deed for the seller to sign. Then the title company will cause the warranty deed to be recorded.
Warranty Deed Rules and Requirements
The requirements for a warranty deed in Florida are listed in section 695.26 of Florida law. The statute says states the deed must include:
- The name and address of the individual who prepared the deed.
- The name and address of the current owner (also called the grantor)
- The name and address of the new owner (also called the grantee)
- Original signature of the grantor (note: the grantee does not need to sign the deed)
- Two witness signatures
- A valid legal description
- Full notarization
Warranty Deed Form
Section 689.02 of the Florida statutes provides sample language to use in a warranty deed. This form language is as follows:
“This indenture, made this _______ day of _______ A.D. , between _______, of the County of _______ in the State of _______, party of the first part, and _______, of the County of _______, in the State of _______, party of the second part, witnesseth: That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of _______ dollars, to her or him in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained and sold to the said party of the second part, her or his heirs and assigns forever, the following described land, to wit: _______
And the said party of the first part does hereby fully warrant the title to said land, and will defend the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever.”
The language used in the statutory warranty deed form is archaic. Many attorneys in Florida will use more modern language when drafting a warranty deed.
Cost of Warranty Deed in Florida
There are two parts to the cost of a warranty deed in Florida: the recording costs and the preparation cost.
A recording fee is charged by the county where the deed is recorded. The recording cost is the same regardless of who prepares the warranty deed. The amount of the fee is based on the amount of the mortgage of the property or the sale price.
The preparation cost is charged by the attorney preparing the deed. An experienced attorney will charge between $250 and $600 for the preparation of the warranty deed in most cases. Sellers can prepare their own warranty deeds for free.
Warranty Deed FAQs
Here are answers to common questions asked about Florida warranty deeds:
Is a warranty deed the same thing as a regular deed?
A warranty deed is different than a regular quitclaim deed. A quitclaim deed includes no warranty of good and marketable title. A warranty deed includes five warranties of title. If a buyer discovers an issue with the property title, they may have a legal claim against the title insurance company.
How do you file a warranty deed in Florida?
A properly executed warranty deed is filed, or recorded, in the official records of the county where the property is located. The county records office will scan and stamp the deed. The records office will return the original to the property buyer.
Does Florida require witnesses for a warranty deed?
Yes, Florida requires a warranty deed to be witnessed by two people pursuant to section 689.01 of the Florida statutes. Only the grantor (current owner) needs to sign the warranty deed. A notary seal is required to record the deed.
About the Author
Gideon Alper specializes in estate planning for individuals and their families.