Written by attorney Kathryn Brooke

Oregon Deeds for Buyers and Sellers of Real Property

Have you ever actually considered what form of deed you, as a seller of real estate, will provide to the buyer or, as a buyer, the form of deed you will receive? Usually, real property purchased and sold via an arms length transaction is transferred by Warranty Deed. There are, however, other forms of deeds that you may choose or run into from time to time.

Oregon has four statutory deed forms, each of which conveys real property differently.

If you transfer property by statutory warranty deed, you are warranting the title. This is the most common deed form. It is a guarantee that you own the entire piece of property free and clear except for conditions specifically listed in the deed (such as CC&Rs and easements). A warranty deed provides the greatest protection to the buyer because the guarantee means that the seller may be held liable for damages if the buyer discovers the property's title is defective. This is why sellers typically purchase a title insurance policy for the buyers--if the title is defective, the title insurance may (depending on the cloud on the title) cover the buyer's losses so the seller doesn't have to do so.

In certain situations, a special warranty deed may be preferable to a statutory warranty deed. A special warranty deed conveys the seller's title to the buyer and guarantees that neither the seller, nor anyone claiming by, through or under the seller (such as heirs, trust beneficiaries, etc.), has encumbered the property. The guarantee means that the seller may be liable to the buyer for title defects arising under and through the seller, but no other person or entity.

A b*argain and sale deed * transfers the seller's title or interest in the property as it is as the time of the conveyance or as is acquired later. There are no guarantees associated with this deed.

A quit claim deed conveys only that which the seller owns at the time of the conveyance and nothing more. As with the bargain and sale deed, the quit claim deed has no guarantees.

So what form of deed to you choose when you are buying or selling real property? Ask your real estate lawyer, of course!

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