Property deeds are legal documents used in real estate that transfers ownership of real property from a grantor (seller) to a grantee (buyer). Real property is land or anything attached to the land, such as buildings or roads. For a deed to be legally operative, it must include the identification of the grantor and grantee and the adequate description of the property.
What Are Property Deeds?
A property deed is a written and signed legal document that is used to transfer ownership of the real property from the old owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee).
Essential Deed Elements
While each state has its own requirements, most deeds must contain several essential elements to be legally valid:
- They must be in writing. While most deeds are completed on printed forms, there is no legal requirement that any specific form is used as long as the essential elements are included.
- The grantor must have the legal capacity to transfer the property and the grantee must be capable of receiving the grant of the property. A person who is competent to make a valid contract is considered competent to be a grantor.
- The grantor and grantee must be identified in such a way as to be ascertainable.
- The property must be adequately described.
- Operative words of conveyance must be present. All standard form deeds include the necessary legal language that actually transfers the property.
- The deed must be signed by the grantor or grantors if the property is owned by more than one person.
- The deed must be legally delivered to the grantee or to someone acting on the grantee’s behalf.
- The deed must be accepted by the grantee. Typically, deeds are accepted by the grantee but in certain circumstances, the grantee could reject delivery of the deed.