Warranty Deeds in Texas are generally used to transfer title to real estate between parties. This article will define and discuss the common elements of a Texas Warranty Deed.
The first element of The Warranty Deed is the heading or caption which provides key information identifying the specific type of Deed. For example, Special Warranty Deed, a Quit Claim, a Warranty Deed with Vendor’s Lien, a Deed Without Warranty, and a General Warranty Deed are all types of Warranty Deeds. Following the caption is the name of the person conveying the interest in lands (the Grantor) to the person receiving the interest in lands (the Grantee). To avoid any ambiguity or confusion about who exactly is conveying the land, accurate and exact language is crucial. Whenever possible, the Grantor’s name should include the full and complete first, middle, and last names. To help ensure that the Grantor’s name is accurate, use a copy of the previous deed that went into the Grantor and include the Grantor’s name exactly as it is written there. If the Grantor signed the Deed using initials, and you know the full name, avoid ambiguity by including the full name along with the initials (for example H.G. Wells, also known as Herbert George Wells).
Even though Texas law doesn’t require it, the Grantor’s address is usually listed after the name. Since the address may change with the transfer of title, the Deed should have the newest, most accurate mailing address for the Grantor. Following the Grantor’s address is the consideration. In Texas, the consideration is generally minimal, and the sales price is rarely included. However, if financing is required, include the amount of the real estate Lien Note.
More important than consideration is the phrasing of the Granting clause, the next element of The Warranty Deed. Because it is the most important part of the deed, the statutory form for the modern deed is exact and unchanging. The legal wording is “have granted, sold, and conveyed, and by these presents do grant, sell, and convey.” This language not only discloses the interest, but also establishes the warranty of title. The Special Warranty Deed, usually at the end of the granting clause, limits any warranty issues which the Grantor caused while the Grantor owned the land. (Refer to Texas Property Code §5.023.)
Yet another critical element of the Deed of Warranty is the legal description because an error in this section can change the meaning and interpretation of the deed. To avoid confusion, this description must be accurate and complete. Choose sources for descriptions of land wisely. Avoid descriptions from insurance policies, ad valorem tax statements, and even street addresses since they may not actually provide accurate descriptions. Instead, use the previous deed, the most recent survey, or the title insurance commitment. The last element of the Warranty Deed, the Reservations section, follows the description and lists exceptions to the deed, such as encroachments, mineral reservations or leases, oil and gas leases, etc.
Given the complexities of the Texas Warranty Deed and the potentially painful consequences of mistakes, hiring a competent real estate attorney to prepare a deed is prudent and critical in a successful real estate transfer.
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