Guide to Understanding
A general warranty deed is a type of deed where the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the grantee (buyer). The guarantee is not limited to the time the grantor owned the property—it extends back to the property's origins. A General Warranty Deed includes six traditional forms of Covenants for Title. Those six traditional forms of covenants can be broken down into two categories: present covenants and future covenants.
Covenant of Seisin & Covenant of Right to Convey - Covenants that represent the seller's promise that he has title and possession and can validly claim both
Covenant Against Encumbrances - Seller promises that there are no encumbrances, other than those that have been previously disclosed
Covenant of Warranty and Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment - Covenants that represent seller's promise to protect the buyer against anyone who comes along later and claims paramount title to the property
Covenant of Further Assurances - If seller omitted something required to pass valid title, seller promises to do whatever is necessary to pass title to buyer
Note - Not all states recognizes the Covenant of Further Assurances (e.g. Ohio)
Most people hire someone to perform a title search to determine if there are defects that must be resolved before they purchase real property. They can also purchase title insurance, which covers many types of losses that occur if problems are discovered later, but title insurance raises a number of other legal issues.