Reviewing warranty deed in Florida

Warranty Deed in Florida

Summary

In Florida, a warranty deed is a common legal document used in real estate transactions to transfer property with guarantees about the title.

It provides the highest level of protection to the buyer, assuring that the seller holds clear title to the property and has the right to sell it.

A warranty deed is used to transfer property ownership with a guarantee that the title is clear of any liens or encumbrances and that the grantor holds good title to the property.

What Is a Warranty Deed?

A warranty deed is a document that not only transfers ownership of property from one party (the grantor) to another (the grantee) but also explicitly guarantees that the grantor holds a clear title to the property.

This means the property is free of liens, encumbrances, or other title defects.

If any claims against the title arise after the property has been transferred, the grantor is legally obligated to defend the grantee against those claims.

Benefits of Using a Warranty Deed

A warranty deed offers three main benefits.

First, it ensures a clear and undisputed property title, meaning the buyer receives full ownership without any hidden claims or issues.

Second, it provides legal protection against future claims, as the grantor guarantees they have the right to transfer the property and will defend against any challenges.

Third, it offers peace of mind by guaranteeing the absence of liens or encumbrances, ensuring the buyer that the property is free from debts or legal obligations that could affect ownership.

    Understanding Warranty Deeds

    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.

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    Warranties Included in a Warranty Deed

    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)
    Example warranty deed

    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.

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    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.

    he 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 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

    Cost of Warranty Deed in Florida

    The cost of a warranty deed in Florida consists of two parts: the recording costs and the preparation costs.

    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

    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.

    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.