Understanding the Difference between a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed

general warranty deed and special warranty

When it comes to the transfer of ownership of a property, it’s essential to make it official through a document called a deed. The two most common types of deeds are the General Warranty Deed and the Special Warranty Deed.

These deeds offer different levels of assurances to the new property owner. Whether you’re selling, buying, or transferring real estate’s ownership, it’s crucial to comprehend the difference between these deeds. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the two types of deeds, their differences, and what they mean for you.

General Warranty Deed:

Let’s start with the General Warranty Deed. This type of deed offers the highest level of protection to the new homeowner. The General Warranty Deed guarantees that the property is free of any debts or liens and ensures a clean transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

This deed also guarantees that the property is free of any hidden damages or defects, which may not manifest immediately but will come up in the future. By signing this deed, the seller essentially agrees to defend the new homeowner against any legal issues that may arise in the future because of the property.

Special Warranty Deed:

The Special Warranty Deed is different from the General Warranty Deed in that it provides a limited form of protection against issues that may come up after the sale of the property. This type of deed only warrants that any issues that arose during the seller’s possession will be covered.

In other words, it doesn’t guarantee the property’s past history, but instead offers assurances for issues that may have arisen in the time the seller owned the property. It’s crucial to note that this type of deed is most commonly used by commercial real estate companies and investors instead of individuals buying or selling residential properties.

What’s included in each deed?

Each deed includes different warranties. The General Warranty Deed includes six warranties that protect the buyer from lawsuits or liens that may arise in the future. These warranties include warranty of title, warranty of seisin (ownership), warranty against encumbrances, warranty of quiet enjoyment, warranty of further assurances and warranty of no hidden defects or damages. On the other hand, the Special Warranty Deed includes two warranties: the Warranty of Authority and the Warranty of Further Assurances.

How to choose?

As a buyer or seller of a property, it’s essential to choose the right type of deed. If you’re buying a property, you’d want a General Warranty Deed to protect you from any issues that may arise in the future.

The same goes for a seller who wants to offer the most significant level of protection to the buyer. However, if you’re an investor who buys and sells multiple properties, you’re more likely to prefer the Special Warranty Deed as it limits the warranties to the time you possessed the property.

Final considerations:

When dealing with real estate, there’s always a risk involved. Choosing the right deed that fits your situation and preferences is essential in making sure both the buyer and seller are protected. It’s crucial to understand what each deed means and the level of protection it offers before signing. And, as always, it’s advisable to seek the guidance of a licensed attorney to help navigate the legal requirements.


Selling, buying, or transferring ownership of a real estate asset can be a complicated and challenging process. Understanding the difference between a General Warranty Deed and a Special Warranty Deed is a crucial first step in making the right decision. Both deeds offer varying levels of assurances to the new homeowner.

A General Warranty Deed provides the most significant level of protection, while a Special Warranty Deed offers a limited form of assurance against issues that may arise during the seller’s possession. Whatever your situation is, it’s always best to seek help from a real estate lawyer that can guide you through the process, ensuring that you make the right decisions for your needs and preferences.