By Jed McKeehan

When two people want to transfer ownership of real property (real property is land, a house, etc.) between them in exchange for money, the document that officially memorializes the transaction is called a deed.  A deed will have the description and location of the property on it as well as the name of the previous owner and the new owner.

To transfer the property, one of two types of deeds must be executed.

The first type of deed is the warranty deed.  A warranty deed states that the person transferring the property “warrants” that the property is free and clear of all liens and impediments to clear title.  If it is found later that there is a problem with the title to the property, meaning someone else has a claim to the property, then the previous owner can be held liable for not transferring clear title to the property as they stated they were able to do pursuant to the warranty deed.

The second type of deed is the quitclaim deed.  A person conveying a quitclaim is not warranting that they own free and clear title to the property.  They are instead saying, “I do not know what interest I own in this property, but whatever it is, I am conveying it to you.”  With a quitclaim deed, there does not exist the protection for the buyer that a warranty deed has where the seller is essentially guaranteeing that they own free and clear title to the property.


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.