Everything You Need to Know About Property Deeds

Everything You Need to Know About Property Deeds


On the surface, knowing whether you own a property seems pretty simple. In theory, it is, although real estate transactions are technical and detail-oriented. One of those elements is a property deed, which transfers and confirms ownership in real estate. It includes details such as the legal description, tax identification number, and the owner’s information. Deeds define ownership and must be signed by the seller or grantor to complete a real estate transaction.

Let’s take a closer look at residential property deeds in Illinois.

What is the Difference Between a Deed and a Title?

 In a nutshell, the deed is the legal document required to transfer ownership of a property. Although title refers to the concept of ownership rights, the deed is the proof of when a property is bought and sold.

What is a Grantor or Grantee?

On the deed, the names of the grantor and grantee appear. The grantor is the seller or person transferring title to a property, and the grantee is the buyer or person receiving title to a property..

What Information Appears on a Property Deed?

 Deeds vary in how they appear, but in general, they include: 

  • Names and addresses of the grantor and grantee
  • Legal description of the property 
  • Notarized signature of the grantor
  • Words of conveyance or granting clause outlining the grantee’s rights
  • Consideration clause confirming the grantor received something in return for the property

 In some cases, other information is included, such as any conditions associated with owning a particular property.

What Types Of Deeds are There?

 There are several types of property deeds including: 

  • General Warranty Deed: The grantor confirms or warrants full title to the grantee.  
  • Special Warranty Deed: The grantor provides less of a warranty on this deed, only  guaranteeing the title during the period of time the grantor owned the property. This leaves openings for issues that might have existed with prior owners.
  • Quitclaim Deed: This deed carries no warranty of title from the grantor, and leaves the grantee vulnerable as the grantor has no liability.   

 When purchasing a property it’s important to discuss the type of deed with your real estate attorney.

What are Special Purpose Deeds?

 As the name implies, these deeds are used in special circumstances that can include:

  • Tax deed: Grants ownership of a property to the government due to unpaid taxes.
  • Deed in lieu of foreclosure: This applies to properties with unpaid mortgages where the borrower conveys the property to the lender to avoid a foreclosure.
  • Deed of gift: A property that is transferred without compensation.
  • Sheriff’s deed: Property ownership conveyed to a buyer at a sheriff’s sale upon order of a court after failure to pay a judgment.
  • Executor’s deed: The deed used by an executor of an estate to convey title or property to a grantee.
  • Administrator’s deed: The deed used in the case of a property left behind by someone who dies without a will.


With so many types of deeds, your real estate attorney will ensure your best interests are protected when buying or selling residential property.


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