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Special Warranty Deed


A Special Warranty Deed is a legal document used in real estate transactions where the seller (grantor) guarantees the title only against defects or claims arising during the period of their ownership of the property. It doesn’t cover any issues that may have existed before they took ownership. Therefore, it provides less protection to the buyer (grantee) compared to a General Warranty Deed.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Special Warranty Deed” would be: Spesh-ul Wohr-en-tee Deed

Key Takeaways

  1. Limitation of Warranty: In a Special Warranty Deed, the seller only warrants or guarantees the title against defects that may have arisen during their period of ownership. This implies, the seller is not liable for any defects in the title that may have existed before they took ownership.
  2. Protection for Buyer: The deed protects the buyer against any future claims or legal disputes regarding the property title. If any claim arises, the seller is held responsible to defend the title and compensate the buyer if necessary. However, the protection is limited to the tenure of the seller’s ownership.
  3. Ease of Transaction: The Special Warranty Deed is quite often used in real estate transactions, particularly in commercial real estate. Buyers and sellers may prefer this type of deed because it offers a compromise between the high level of protection offered by a General Warranty Deed and the low level of protection offered by a Quitclaim Deed.


A Special Warranty Deed is a significant term in business and finance as it is a document used in real estate transactions to transfer property ownership from the seller to the buyer. Its importance lies in the provision of limited warranty that solely covers the period during which the seller held title to the property. This means that the seller guarantees they have done nothing during their tenure of ownership to encumber the property, thereby providing assurance to the buyer against any legal claim or potential title dispute. It provides a layer of protection, although limited, to the buyer while also limiting the liability of the seller, thus playing a vital role in property transactions.


The Special Warranty Deed, often used in real estate transactions, primarily serves to protect the buyer from future claims against the property. This ensures that the authentic ownership of the property is passed from the seller to the buyer, without the fear of subsequent legal issues. The deed guarantees that during the seller’s period of ownership, no encumbrances, liens, or claims jeopardizing the title were attached to the property. While the deed potentially limits the buyer’s protection to the seller’s ownership duration, it provides a sense of security, ensuring that the title was clear, at least during the time the seller had possession.The Special Warranty Deed is useful when the seller cannot guarantee the history of the property before their ownership, and doesn’t want to take the risk of broader warranty deeds. It is commonly used in commercial property transactions, where property’s ownership histories are more complex to track. This tailored guarantee approached by Special Warranty Deed ensures that the seller is not held accountable for title issues that might have occurred before their ownership. Thus, it shields the seller from unintended potential liabilities while also providing the buyer with a degree of security in their purchase.


1. Real Estate Transaction: If you were to buy a residential property, the seller may provide a special warranty deed. In this case, the seller will guarantee that they have the right to sell the property, and there were no encumbrances (like liens or loans) on the property for the period they owned it. However, the seller will not provide any guarantee about the period prior to when they took ownership.2. Commercial Property Sale: Consider a commercial property that a business has owned for a decade and wants to sell. The business can offer a special warranty deed to assure buyers that there are no legal issues or claims associated with the property during their ownership period. However, this deed does not cover the time before they purchased the property.3. Foreclosure Auction: During a foreclosure auction, financial institutions frequently use special warranty deeds. The bank, or other lender, will only assure the winning bidder that the property has not had any liens or encumbrances placed on it since the bank took possession after the foreclosure process. This does not take into account any potential claims on the property prior to the foreclosure.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Special Warranty Deed?

A Special Warranty Deed is a legal document often used in real estate transactions, where the seller guarantees they have not done anything to impair the title during their ownership, but makes no guarantees about the title before they owned the property.

How is a Special Warranty Deed different from a General Warranty Deed?

A General Warranty Deed provides a full guarantee from the seller to the buyer regarding the entire history of the property, whether the seller owned it or not. On the other hand, a Special Warranty Deed only guarantees the property’s title during the time when the seller owned the property.

When is a Special Warranty Deed typically used?

Special Warranty Deeds are often used in commercial real estate transactions. They’re also commonly used when a property is being sold by a trust, an estate or a bank that has foreclosed on a property.

What risks could be associated with a Special Warranty Deed?

The main risk associated with a Special Warranty Deed is that there could potentially be problems with the property’s title from previous owners. The seller does not warrant against these issues and the buyer could end up being legally responsible for resolving them.

Can a buyer take legal action if there are undisclosed issues with the property purchased with a Special Warranty Deed?

If problems arise from undisclosed issues that occurred during the seller’s ownership period, a buyer may take legal action. However, if the issue stems from outside the period of the seller’s ownership, the seller is typically not at fault.

Is it advisable for a buyer to accept a Special Warranty Deed?

It’s generally safe for buyers to accept a Special Warranty Deed, especially in transactions involving trusts, estates or banks. However, buyers should make sure to carry out thorough due diligence, possibly including a complete title search, before completing the purchase.

Can a Special Warranty Deed be used when selling a residential property?

Yes, a Special Warranty Deed can be used when selling a residential property. However, general warranty deeds or quitclaim deeds are more common for residential transactions.

Related Finance Terms

  • Covenant of Seisin
  • Grantor
  • Grantee
  • Real Estate Transaction
  • Title Defects

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