Investing Assets & Markets Real Estate Investing What Does a General Warranty Deed Convey? General warranty deeds are used in real estate transactions By Jim Kimmons Jim Kimmons Jim Kimmons is a real estate broker and author of multiple books on the topic. He has written hundreds of articles about how real estate works and how to use it as an investment and small business. learn about our editorial policies Updated on September 13, 2022 Fact checked by Hilarey Gould In This Article View All In This Article Basic Warranties in a General Warranty Deed Other Property Documents You May Need To Read The Bottom Line Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Sam Edwards / Getty Images A real estate buyer is best protected by a general warranty deed, which is a document that outlines what the seller (grantor) is legally bound to guarantee to the buyer. A warranty deed is often used in real estate transactions when the transfer of ownership of a property takes place. Here's what you need to know about a general warranty deed. Key Takeaways A general warranty deed is often used in real estate transactions when the transfer of ownership of a property takes place.The seller is legally bound by the warranties in the deed, such as warranting that the property is free of any liens or encumbrances.The covenants or warranties in a general warranty deed do not cover just the period of ownership of this seller—they extend back to the origin of the property.You should read all of your property documents when you buy real estate so you know how best to maintain the property. Basic Warranties in a General Warranty Deed With a general warranty deed, the seller conveys the property with certain covenants or warranties. The seller is legally bound by these warranties. Whether expressly written into the deed, or implied by certain statutory words, basic warranties include: Covenant of seisin: "Seisin" means "possession" and the seller warrants that they own the property and have the legal right to convey it.Covenant against encumbrances: The seller warrants that the property is free of any liens or encumbrances unless they're specifically stated in the deed.Covenant of quiet enjoyment: The buyer is guaranteed that the title will be good against third parties attempting to establish title to the property.Covenant of further assurance: The seller promises that in order to make the title good, they will deliver any document or instrument necessary. Note The covenants or warranties in a general warranty deed do not cover just the period of ownership of this seller. They extend back to the origin of the property. Each seller of a general warranty deed in the title chain would be liable for title problems, which would likely show up in an abstract of title, before and through their ownership. Other Property Documents You May Need To Read Over time, and with development and population growth, there has been a great deal of legal and societal attention paid to property ownership, the rights of others around your property, as well as your rights. Subdivisions and homeowners associations (HOAs) have been created to create rules and manage the relationships of homeowners. These HOA documents are the warranty deeds you may need to live by if you buy a home that's part of a condo complex or subdivision. HOA documents for a subdivision can be quite a pile of paper. The covenants and restrictions range from fairly liberal to extremely limited in how a property owner can use and enjoy their property. Homeowners buying in a subdivision should pay careful attention to the restrictions and covenants, as they could be planning on something that's against the rules. If you're buying in a subdivision, you should look for the following in the documents: Limits on the number of vehicles that can be parked on the property and where they can be parkedRestrictions on the type of vehicles, trailers, and boats that can be visible on the property instead of housed in a garageRestrictions on renting out the home, either via a total restriction or more likely through the requirement of a long-term leaseFence height restrictions, or rules against fencesFence construction restrictions, such as no chain link fencesLimits on outbuildings, number, size, height, and locationRequirements for lawn and landscape maintenance, mowing, limits on grass height, and moreRules for exterior modifications, restrictions on colors, styling, and moreRestrictions on adding a swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, and moreRules for noise and annoyances to neighborsLimits or restrictions on types and number of animals, as well as size For example, let's say you owned a home in a subdivision in the Houston, Texas area and had to keep your boat in the garage because that was one of the HOA rules. You want to sell the boat and so you call a company called Boat Buyer. Since you won't be home on a certain day, this company says you could leave a check in the boat glove box and park it outside so they could photograph it. You do that and come home to find a letter on your door about breaking the HOA rules. This could technically happen. In more rural areas, there may not be a subdivision or homeowner association, but there can be restrictions in the deed that conveys the property. If so, they will be continued in every deed into the future, and they may be important. For example, let's say you lived in rural New Mexico and sold your home. The owners two transfers back had placed a restriction in the deed on the number of trees that could be cut in building or doing any other improvements on the property. The people who originally placed that restriction in the deed were long since deceased, and there really was nobody around with any great interest in enforcement, but it stayed in each deed moving forward. These are just things to check in property documents. The Bottom Line A general warranty deed is a document that outlines what the seller guarantees to the buyer during the transfer of property ownership. Some deeds have covenants and warranties that have been there for years and years, thanks to previous owners. Some properties may have people to enforce these property restrictions, such as an HOA, while others may not. It's important to read your property documents in full so you know what you're dealing with as a property owner. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is a general warranty deed? A general warranty deed is a document that is used in real estate transactions when the transfer of ownership of a property takes place. It legally binds the seller to the property, stating that the seller has the right to convey the property, along with other basic warranties, such as that the property is free of liens. What is the difference between a special warranty deed and a general warranty deed? A special warranty deed is similar to a warranty deed with one main difference. The special warranty deed includes covenants that only cover the time period for which the seller owned the property. It does not warrant anything prior to their ownership. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Goosmann, Rose, Colvard, and Cramer, P.A. Attorneys at Law. "General Warranty Deed." New York State Department of Health. "Realty Subdivisions: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)." University of Maine. "Deeds a Primer for Surveyors."