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Most deeds contain either “warranty” or “quitclaim” covenants. Customarily a home seller will grant ownership of the property using the same covenants that he received when buying the home.

So what’s the difference between the two types of deeds?

According to M.G.L. c. 183, section 16, a property owner who conveys title with “warranty covenants” affirms that

he has good right to sell and convey the same, and that he will, and his heirs, executors, administrators and successors shall, warrant and defend the same to the grantee and his heirs, successors and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.

Such a seller, therefore, most defend against legal challenges to the buyer’s title if those challenges stem from the seller’s ownership of the land or from any of his predecessors.

This is far more protection than what’s provided with a quitclaim deed.

M.G.L. c. 183, section 17, requires only that the seller defend

against the lawful claims and demands of all persons claiming by, through or under the grantor [or seller], but against none other.

In other words, the seller is obligated to defend against only those legal claims against that directly involve the seller’s ownership.

There are numerous other differences between the two types of deeds and if you’re involved in a title dispute, it’s important to you hire a competent property lawyer to advise you.

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