As we all know, a deed filed in the land records documents the ownership of property.
In Mississippi, there are several types of deeds. You should understand the differences between them and whether they favor the buyer or the seller.
The quitclaim deed
The most seller-friendly is the quitclaim deed. When a seller quitclaims land to a buyer, the seller is not making any representations as to whether the title is good. In fact, the seller is not even representing that he or she owns any interest in the land.
Instead, the seller is simply saying “whatever interest I have in this land, if any at all, I am giving to the buyer.”
Because a quitclaim deed does not assure the buyer that the title to the land is good, a buyer should only accept one in limited circumstances.
The warranty deed
This is the most common type of deed. When a seller gives a buyer a warranty deed, the seller is promising all of the following to the buyer:
- The title to the land is good.
- The seller actually owns the land.
- The seller has the power to sell the land.
- There are no mortgages or other liens on the land.
- The buyer’s quiet enjoyment of the property will not be interfered with because of a problem with title to the land.
If the seller breaches one or more of these warranties, the buyer may file suit against the seller for any damages that result. This is the most buyer-friendly type of deed.
The special warranty deed
This is similar to a warranty deed except the seller is only promising the buyer that neither the seller or anyone else who claims to have acquired an interest in the land from the seller will disturb the buyer’s use and ownership.
Special warranty deeds are often used by banks that have foreclosed on property. This is because banks do not want to warrant the title of the land prior to the time the bank acquired it. A buyer should pay to have the title to the land checked before accepting that type of deed.
Special considerations for land owned by two or more parties
It is common for land to be owned by more than one person. There are several different types of ownership, but the two most common are:
- Tenancy in common, and
- Joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship.
Tenants in common are said to each own an undivided interest in the land. For example, if two persons own land, each is said to own a 50% interest in the whole parcel.
When property is deeded to two or more persons, there is a presumption that they are tenants in common. To overcome the presumption, specific language should be put into the deed stating that the owners “are joint tenants with full rights of survivorship and not tenants in common.”
Why does it make a difference?
When property is owned by tenants in common, when one of them passes away, his interest in the land passes to his heirs.
On the other hand, when the owners are joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, when one passes away his interest in the land passes to the other owner. You will see spouses usually own property as joint tenants.
If you have a question about how to structure your land ownership, call the Panter Law Firm for a consultation. 601-607-3156