Understanding Deeds: How They Work and the Process of Transfer or Addition

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When it comes to real estate transactions, deeds play a crucial role in transferring ownership rights from one party to another. Whether you're buying a new home, transferring property within your family, or adding someone to an existing deed, understanding how deeds work and the processes involved is essential. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of deeds, their types, and the steps required to transfer or add someone to them.

What is a Deed?

A deed is a legal document that conveys ownership of real property from one party to another. It serves as proof of ownership and outlines the rights and interests associated with the property. Deeds are typically recorded in the local government office, such as the county clerk's office, to provide public notice of the property transfer.

Types of Deeds:

  1. General Warranty Deed: This type of deed offers the highest level of protection for the buyer, as it guarantees that the seller holds clear title to the property and has the right to sell it. It also provides assurances against any claims or defects in the title.

  2. Special Warranty Deed: Similar to a general warranty deed, but with a more limited scope. The seller only warrants against defects or claims that occurred during their ownership of the property.

  3. Quitclaim Deed: This deed transfers whatever interest the seller has in the property without making any warranties about the title's quality. It's commonly used in situations like transferring property between family members or adding someone to a deed.

Process of Transferring or Adding Someone to a Deed:

1. Determine the Intent:

Before proceeding with any transfer or addition to a deed, it's crucial to clarify the intent behind the transaction. Are you transferring ownership entirely, or are you adding someone while retaining ownership yourself?

2. Obtain a New Deed:

To transfer ownership or add someone to a deed, a new deed must be prepared. This typically involves drafting a new deed document that reflects the desired changes in ownership.

3. Seek Legal Advice:

While it's possible to prepare and execute a deed without legal assistance, seeking advice from a real estate attorney can ensure the process is done correctly and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

4. Execute the Deed:

Once the new deed is prepared, it needs to be signed by the current property owner (grantor) and the individual being added or transferred to (grantee). Signatures must be witnessed and notarized to validate the deed.

5. Record the Deed:

After execution, the deed should be recorded in the appropriate government office, such as the county clerk's office. Recording the deed provides public notice of the property transfer and helps establish clear ownership rights.

6. Update Property Records:

Once the deed is recorded, it's essential to update property records to reflect the changes in ownership. This may involve notifying relevant parties, such as homeowners' associations or mortgage lenders.


Deeds are integral to the transfer of real estate ownership and serve as legal evidence of property rights. Whether you're transferring ownership entirely or adding someone to a deed, understanding the process is crucial for a smooth and legally sound transaction. By following the appropriate steps and seeking legal guidance when needed, you can ensure that property transfers are executed correctly and securely.

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