Buying or selling a home can be risky. But if you have a copy of the deed, you can determine who has a legal right to the property.
When dealing with a title dispute, you might search “How to get a copy of the deed to my house.” A copy of your deed can help you resolve a dispute or purchase a home worry-free. Knowing how to get a copy of the deed to your house is essential for buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers, and owners.
The attorneys at Baldo Kier Bolan, P.S. have been helping Washington homeowners buy and sell properties since 1977. We can help you get a copy of your deed and manage the legal aspects of property ownership. Our experienced attorneys can help you find the right legal solution for your real estate transaction or dispute.
What’s the Deed of a House?
In real estate, a “deed” is a legal document created when an owner transfers the right to own the land, known as a “title.” The deed is the official, written record of the title transfer. It lists the names of the buyer and seller (or grantee and grantor) and the date of the transfer. It will describe the property and document any existing encumbrances, such as a mortgage, property tax lien, or easements. When the parties sign the deed, they need a notary to authenticate it.
In a sale, you can hire a local title company to secure the latest property deed. If you purchase your home outright, you will receive the deed from the title company or property attorney. The lender will receive the original deed if you use a mortgage to purchase your home.
If you’re in a dispute, having a certified copy of the deed will help you determine who has the right to own or access the property. If you’re buying a home, you need to know if someone has an existing lien, encumbrance, or other financial interest.
Where Do You Get a Copy of the Deed to Your House
The official register is a document repository maintained by the county government where your home is located. In Washington, each county has its own Auditor who is responsible for recording deeds.
County recorders usually store copies of deeds electronically and make them searchable using a parcel number or party information. You can find your parcel number on your latest property tax statement, or you can ask the seller or the county assessor. To access a digital copy, go to your county recorder’s website and search public records and recorded documents. You can print an unofficial copy or request a certified one from the county recorder.
Obtaining a certified recorded copy allows you to confirm the online document matches the document filed with the county recorder. Even though this search is helpful for determining ownership, a deed search isn’t a title guarantee. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with an attorney and title company to determine who owns or has a vested interest in a property before buying it.
Types of Deeds in Washington State
In a real estate transaction, a seller can guarantee they have the right to transfer ownership, which is known as a “warranty of title.” By offering a warranty of title, the seller promises they own the right to transfer the property and that they have disclosed all encumbrances. If the deed contains a warranty of title, the buyer can sue the seller if someone later claims ownership.
On the other hand, a deed can pass without a warranty of title. In that case, the seller offers no guarantee about the property’s ownership or encumbrances. The buyer assumes the risk of the transaction and cannot recover from the seller if there is a title dispute later on.
Washington law provides for a few types of deeds, including:
- Warranty deed—also known as a general warranty deed, this deed provides a warranty of title that encompasses all former owners, including those who owned the property before the current owner;
- Bargain and sale deed—sometimes called a special warranty deed in other states, this deed provides a limited warranty of title that only applies to the time the current grantor possessed the property;
- Quitclaim deed—this deed provides no warranty of title and transfers the risk to the buyer; and
- Transfer-on-death deed—this is a revocable deed used in estate planning to transfer property when the owner dies.
Many home real estate sales use a general warranty deed. Banks prefer to bargain and sale deeds in foreclosure sales. Quitclaim deeds are typically used for transfers between family members or to remedy title issues. Regardless of the type of deed you use, a deed is a legally binding document.
Why Is Having a Copy of My Deed Important?
Real estate deeds are crucial to proving or transferring the legal ownership of your house. Asking “how to get a copy of the deed to my house” is only the first step in understanding the legal rights and obligations that accompany a deed. Because they are such important documents, it’s essential that you meet the legal requirements for transferring a deed and understand the rights and obligations each party is assuming. A deed must include specific information and language showing a conveyance is being made for it to be valid and enforceable in court. The buyer and seller should also understand the risks involved with a transfer of title and a warranty of title. You should contact a skilled attorney if you have any concerns or questions about a deed.
Contact Blado Kiger Bolan For Help With Your Real Estate Matters
Blado Kiger Bolan has over 50 years of combined experience with real estate transactions, warranty of title, quiet title actions, boundary disputes, and other title-related issues. You can trust that our skilled attorneys have the integrity, experience, and skill needed to manage your transaction and defend your rights. If you run into problems with your title, our skilled attorneys can help you find the right solution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.