A deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of real estate from a seller to a buyer. In Texas, several deeds are available depending the circumstances of the property transfer.
Because each deed grants different benefits to the buyer, it must contain specific wording that clearly expresses the seller's obligations to the buyer after the sale.
When a seller/grantor transfers property to a buyer/grantee with a warranty deed, he makes several promises known as covenants. The covenants in a general warranty deed in Texas are that the seller is the actual owner of the property, the seller has the right to sell the property and the title is not encumbered by any liens, judgments or mortgages. Finally, the buyer is guaranteed "quiet enjoyment," which means he has the right to use the property free from any disturbances. If any of these covenants are broken, a seller/grantor is responsible for defending against any third-party claims to the property and paying any losses a buyer/grantee incurs if defects arise or are discovered after the transfer.
A quitclaim deed is used rarely in Texas. The deed does not contain any of the warranties provided in a general warranty deed, so there is no protection for a buyer if problems arise or existing problems are discovered after the transfer. For this reason, quitclaim deeds are usually reserved for transferring property from a deceased owner's estate to a beneficiary, from one spouse to both spouses after a marriage or from both spouses to one spouse after a divorce.
Texas recognizes trustee deeds for foreclosure properties. When a property owner fails to pay his mortgage, the lender or mortgage holder has the right to foreclose on and take possession of the property. When the property is foreclosed on and the lender puts it up for sale, a buyer who successfully bids on the property is awarded a trustee deed, which grants him ownership of the property. Section 51.009 of Texas' Property Code states that a trustee deed cannot contain any warranties, and a successful bidder takes title to the property "as is" at his own risk.
Regardless of the deed used for property transfers in Texas, certain information must be included for the transfer to be valid. First, the seller/grantor and buyer/grantee's full legal names must be listed. Next, the property address and a legal description of the property must be in the deed, including metes and bounds establishing the property lines on all sides of the land. If the property is being sold, as opposed to simply transferred for no money, the purchase price must also be on the deed. Last, the deed must clearly state the seller/grantor's desire to transfer the property, further evidenced by his signature.