All real property conveyances in Washington must be done by written deed. RCW 64.04.010. Deeds often appear simple but are actually densely packed with important information. When conveying real property, we always recommend working with a title company or attorney because even the slightest error can have significant consequences.
There are probably dozens of kinds of deeds, but the three that come up most often in Washington are:
RCW 64.04.030, .040, and .050 provide basic forms for statutory warranty deeds, bargain and sale deeds, and quitclaim deeds respectively. Following is a list of information every deed should contain so that you can familiarize yourself with the information your title company or attorney might need:
A deed is effective upon delivery to and acceptance by the grantee. “Delivery” here means that the grantor intends to pass title to the grantee, so the grantor or grantee’s possession of the deed does not unequivocally demonstrate delivery or failure to deliver. Practically, delivery and acceptance of deeds are almost never a problem, especially if the grantor or grantee work with a title company or attorney.
However, the deed does not protect the grantee’s interest in the property against third parties until it is recorded with the county auditor. If the grantor also gives a deed to a subsequent purchaser for consideration, the original unrecorded deed is void. So, while a grantee may have an effective deed and may own the property without recording the deed, that grantee’s ownership is vulnerable to other claims of ownership until the deed is recorded.
If you have more questions, an experienced real estate attorney can assist you.
Disclaimer: This article and blog are intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. They are not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances. Readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.
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