Types of Deeds and What Type to Request

In Colorado real estate, there are several types of deeds, depending on the type/amount of protection given and received from the seller and buyer.

Types of Deeds

There are four major classifications of deeds:

  1. General warranty deed,
  2. Special warranty deed,
  3. Bargain and sale deed,
  4. Quitclaim deed.

The types of deeds differ solely in the degree of protection that the grantor (seller) promises or warrants to the grantee (buyer). No type of deed transfers any greater or lesser interest than another. For example, if a grantor conveys title in fee simple by a general warranty deed, the same fee simple ownership is conveyed as if he or she had used a quitclaim deed.

However, the general warranty deed grantor promises to defend against any loss incurred due to any title defect, whereas transfer by quitclaim deed contains no such warrant.

1. General Warranty Deed.

A deed in which the grantor warrants or guarantees title against defects that existed before the grantor acquired title or that arose during the grantor’s ownership. It does not warrant against encumbrances or defects arising from the grantee’s own acts. The usual covenants or warranties contained in a general warranty deed are:

  1. Covenant of seizin. Guarantees the grantor’s ownership and that he or she has the right to convey it. The fact that the property is mortgaged or is subject to some restriction does not breach this covenant.
  2. Covenant against encumbrances. Guarantees that there are no encumbrances or claims against the property except those specifically excluded in the deed.
  3. Covenant of quiet enjoyment. Guarantees that the grantee will not be evicted or disturbed in possession of the property. Threats or claims by a third party do not breach this covenant. The grantee would have to actually be dispossessed before being entitled to seek recovery under this covenant against the grantor.
  4. Covenant of further assurance. Guarantees that the grantor will procure and deliver any other instruments that are subsequently necessary to make the title good.
  5. Covenant of warrant forever. Guarantees that the grantee shall have title and possession to the property. Sometimes considered part of “quiet enjoyment”.

The first two covenants relate to the past, and generally do not generally “run with the land” – meaning that only the current grantee may sue the grantor for a breach. The last three covenants protect against future defect and are said to run with the land – allowing any subsequent grantee to seek remedy for breach against any previous grantor. According to Colorado statute, “Covenants of seizin, peaceable possession, freedom from encumbrances, and warranty contained in any conveyance of real estate, or of any interest therein, shall run with the premises, and inure to the benefit of all subsequent purchasers and encumbrancers.” (38-30-121 C.R.S.)

2. Special Waranty Deed.

The grantor of a special warranty deed warrants the title only against defects arising after the grantor acquired the property and not against defects arising before that time.

3. Bargain and Sale Deed.

Technically, any deed that recites a consideration and purports to convey the real estate is a bargain and sale deed. Thus, many quitclaim and warranty deeds are also deeds of bargain and sale. Bargain and sale deeds often contain a covenant against the grantor’s acts, whereby the grantor warrants only that the grantor has done nothing to harm the title.

This covenant would not run with the land. Examples of bargain and sale deeds with a covenant against the grantor’s acts are an executor’s deed, an administrator’s deed, and a guardian’s deed.

4. Quitclaim Deed.

The grantor of a quitclaim deed warrants absolutely nothing. A quitclaim deed conveys the grantor’s present interest in the land, if any. A quitclaim deed is frequently used to clear up a technical defect in the chain of title or to release lien claims against the property. Examples of such deeds are correction deeds, and deeds of release

From the Colorado Real Estate Manual, Chapter 8

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