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Special warranty deed vs general warranty deed?

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Special warranty deeds are becoming more common. A general warranty deed is a promise to the buyer that the seller will warranty any prior problems with title, not just during the seller's ownership, but back along the chain of ownership.
A special warranty deed, on the other hand, limits the seller's promise -- or warranty -- to title problems that come up while the seller owned the property, but gives no warranty for propblems prior to that point. For example, builders often give special warranty deeds. They only owned the property long enough to build the homes. They aren't sticking their necks out to warranty buyers against something that happened to cloud title when the subdivision was still a pig farm. Foreclosure property is another example where you often see special warranty deeds. The bank, like the builder, has no close relationship to the property and won't bend over backwards to promise anything about the condition of title before they acquired the property through foreclosure.
These days, title insurance is the buyer's best friend. Title insurance insures the buyer against past ownership problems, old liens, boundary issues, and so on. There may be exceptions in the title insurance policy, and owners should know what their exceptions are. For example, without a survey, a title company won't insure against problems that a survey would have made known -- encroachmets, for example. That's an exception and they won't pay for problems that would have shown up with a survey. But unless there's a specific exception, any other past title problems are covered. When you're buying, talk to your attorney and make sure they take the time to explain what title insurance is and how it works. That attorney is your employee, after all, and you're paying them good money NOT to make decisions for you, but to help you understand. Always make them explain everything. Remember, other names for "attorney" are "counselor" and "advocate." And an attorney who doesn't manage to untangle the legaleeze and teach you about the biggest purchase you'll ever make in your life is lazy and probably a bad attorney.
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