When it comes to transferring property in Los Angeles, you'll likely encounter a “General Warranty Deed.” A General Warranty Deed is a form of deed used most often in real estate transactions. As the name implies, it carries with it certain specific warranties or agreements that guarantee and protect the title that is being sold or transferred. In other words, it is a contract between the buyer and seller.

Understanding how a General Warranty Deed works and what it guarantees is essential for local property owners. When correctly used, this type of deed provides a certain degree of stability and protection that are essential for successful real estate transactions. This article will provide a detailed explanation of the General Warranty Deed and describe how it works and how it plays a role in real estate transactions in Los Angeles.

What Is a General Warranty Deed?

A General Warranty Deed is a deed that guarantees a buyer that the seller has good, clear, and marketable title to the property or land being sold or transferred. It also guarantees that the seller has the right to pass the title on to the buyer. The seller’s assurance that this is true is backed up with the general warranties of title, and also promises that they will act on behalf of the buyer to remove any title defects.

In addition to the general warranty of title, the deed also carries with it certain “special” warranties. Special warranties are promises the seller makes to the buyer that restrict the seller’s liability to certain circumstances that have occurred since they gained ownership of the property.

The California Real Estate Commission defines a “warranty deed” as a scientific document that “…contains a guarantee or warranty of title and, if necessary, may include the details of the transaction and descriptions of the property being conveyed. A general warranty deed clients that the grantor (seller) or transferor will defend the title against any and all claims or actions based on any title defects. This deed also confirms that the grantor has good and perfect title to the real estate described in the deed.”

What Are the Benefits of a General Warranty Deed?

Using a general warranty deed to transfer property in Los Angeles comes with several key benefits. The most notable benefit is the assurance the deed provides. When a General Warranty Deed is used, the seller promises to defend the title against any and all claims that may arise based on any title defects that exist.

For the buyer, this provides assurance that they have a valid claim to the land or property in question. This assurance is especially important in situations where the title may not be as clear-cut as it should be and there is a risk of issues arising due to insufficient documentation.

In addition to the assurance that the title is valid, the seller is also legally obligated to resolve any title disputes that may arise due to their actions. This is known as the “General Warranty of Title” and it is a strong legal protection for both the buyer and seller.

The final benefit of using a General Warranty Deed to transfer property in Los Angeles is that it can be used to move an existing loan from one owner to another. This type of deed explicitly states that the seller is taking full responsibility for any outstanding debt associated with the property and the loan will be transferred to the buyer. This is a particularly useful tool for buyers who are trying to purchase a property that is encumbered.

What Are the Risks of a General Warranty Deed?

But while there are numerous benefits to the use of a General Warranty Deed, there are also risks. First and foremost, the General Warranty only covers those who have signed the deed. That means if the deed (or any of its clauses) are signed by someone other than the original buyer or seller, the deed’s protections do not apply to that party. This means it’s important to make sure that the right people are signing the deed.

In addition, it’s important to be aware that the General Warranty only covers title defects or issues that existed at the time of the transfer. For example, if the title is clouded after the transfer, the General Warranty would not be responsible for resolving any issues related to that.

Finally, it’s important to note that the General Warranty comes with certain “Special Warranties.” These Special Warranties, while providing added assurance, are limited in scope and only cover certain events that the seller is responsible for. For example, if the seller fails to fix a roof or adhere to building codes during the transfer, they will be held responsible.

Final Thoughts

A General Warranty Deed is a powerful document that carries with it certain specific warranties that guarantee and protect the title transfer. It offers a certain degree of stability and assurance for buyers that the title to the property or land is valid. When used correctly, it can help facilitate a successful real estate transaction.

Understanding how a General Warranty Deed works in Los Angeles is essential for both buyers and sellers. If you have any questions about the process or need legal support for creating or modifying a General Warranty Deed, UpCounsel’s experienced business lawyers can provide the support you need.


General Warranty Deed,

Real Estate Transaction,

Los Angeles Property