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Transferring Real Estate

Ownership of real estate is established by a deed. Even if there is a mortgage, the title holder still owns the property, subject to the mortgage. Un-like a car title, one never needs the original deed after it is recorded in the public records.

Types of deeds include general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, quit claim deeds, and personal representative deeds, among others. People often think that a quit claim deed is the deed to use in all cases. This is not true. Title examiners prefer to see deeds in the public records that include a promise by the grantor that the grantor owns the property. Warranty deeds meet that requirement. Quit claim deeds are typically used to clear title problems. They include no promise that the grantor has any interest in the property. To be valid, a deed must have a valid grantor, grantee, legal description of property, consideration, signatures, witnesses, and acknowledgment. The grantor is the owner of the property. Since a person cannot convey homestead real property without the spouse’s signature, the grantor’s spouse must sign, or the re-cord must show that the grantor is un-married, or the record must show that the property is not homestead. The grantee can be a person or an entity. There are certain limitations and considerations in regard to the grantee de-signation. One should never use the legal description from the tax record for a deed because it is abbreviated. Two witnesses must sign to make a deed valid. The signature of the grantor must be acknowledged in the presence of a notary public. We see many improperly executed deeds, which do not pass title.

Generally, defects are not known until it is too late to resolve them, because the grantor is deceased or unavailable to resolve it. We strongly suggest that one avoid using store-bought or nationally sold deed forms. Seek legal advice and do it right.

Attorney Michael A. Pyle, of Pyle, Dellinger & Duz, PLLC. 1655 North Clyde Morris Blvd., Ste. 1, Daytona Beach. Phone: 386.615.9007. e-mail: or website: