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Who is Responsible for Preparing a Real Estate Deed?

Real estate agent and customer sign contract papers and shake hands with small model home in front.

The deed is one of, if not the most important document involved in a real estate transaction. The deed must be executed properly in order for the transfer of title to actually take place. A poorly drafted deed can leave owners in legal limbo regarding potential challenges to their title down the line. Read on to learn about property deeds and who prepares them in advance of a real estate transaction. If you are planning to purchase or sell real estate in the Hudson Valley, call an experienced Poughkeepsie real estate lawyer for advice and assistance.

What is a Property Deed?

There are dozens of documents and hundreds of pages that will be generated as part of your real estate transaction. You’ll review financing documents, land surveys, title searches, purchasing contracts, agent agreements, and any number of other documents.

Ultimately, however, the document that does the legal work of transferring title from the seller to the buyer is the deed. The deed is a legal document that conveys real property ownership rights from the seller to the buyer. Typically, the document must be signed by the seller and the buyer and then recorded with the county or city recorder’s office. The deed puts the world on notice that there’s been a transfer of that parcel of real property, proving who is the current owner.

In New York, several different types of deeds can be used to convey real property. The “Bargain and Sale Deed” is the most common form of deed in downstate New York, guaranteeing only that the seller has title and is conveying title to the buyer; the deed does not promise there are no encumbrances or defects on the title. Buyers typically purchase title insurance separately to protect themselves in the event there’s a problem with the title.

In upstate New York, real estate transactions typically utilize a “Warranty Deed” or “Deed With Full Covenants.” Warranty deeds come with the seller’s guarantee that the seller has title, the seller has not already sold title to anyone else, the property is not burdened by any encumbrances other than those already disclosed to the buyer, and the seller will defend title against any claims from other people.

Parties may also utilize a “Quitclaim Deed” when transferring title. The quitclaim deed does not include any warranties and simply conveys to the grantee any interest the grantor has in the title, without establishing what those interests may be. Quitclaim deeds are often used during divorces or estate administration, typically to ensure that any party not named on the deed (such as the former spouse of a divorcee selling the property) cannot come back later and make a claim.

Who Prepares the Deed in New York?

The deed not only conveys title but also includes whatever warranties the seller is willing to make about the title to the property. In a typical real estate transaction, the deed is prepared by the seller, usually with the help of a title company or a real estate attorney. The use of a title company and/or experienced attorney ensures that title passes appropriately and all parties are aware of the warranties made.

If you need assistance with a commercial or residential real estate transaction in Orange, Ulster, or Dutchess Counties or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, contact the diligent and accomplished New York real estate legal team at the Law Office of Taran M. Provost, PLLC at 845-733-2720.

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