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Deed transfer procedures in virginia.

By Teo Spengler, J.D.

May 02, 2023

Deeds in Virginia

Types of written deeds, requirements for deeds in virginia, general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds in virginia, deeds of trust in virginia, importance of recording deeds.

transfer of deed virginia

  • Virginia Life Estate Laws

A person signing a legal real estate contract agreement.

Deeds are legal documents used to convey or transfer title from one owner to another. They also serve as evidence of title to property. In Virginia, a variety of types of real property deeds are accepted, ranging from a general warranty deed to a quitclaim deed.

Some deeds in Virginia contain guarantees or promises from the seller to the buyer about ownership and encumbrances, while others, like the quitclaim deed, don't even promise that the grantor owns the land.

The terms "deed" and "title" are not exactly the same when used in the context of Virginia real estate matters, although both relate to ownership of property. "Title" is a general term describing the concept of ownership, and when someone says that they have title to land, it's another way of saying they own it.

On the other hand, a deed is an official document used both to evidence ownership and to transfer ownership. The use of a real estate deed in a conveyance of real estate or an interest in land is authorized by the Code of Virginia, under the Property and Conveyances Title.

The written deed is evidence that someone holds legal ownership, or title, to a property. Virginia has many types of deeds, but general warranty and special warranty deeds are the most common for use in residential and commercial property purchases.

These are property deeds that carry warranties or promises about title, made by the seller, or grantor, to the buyer, also called the grantee. Note that if the warranty statements made by the grantor in the deed turn out to be untrue, the grantee can take legal action to recover damages.

Virginia statutes provide that every deed, and corrected or amended deeds, can be made in the following form, or to the same effect:

"This deed, made the _ _ day of _, in the year , between (here insert names of parties as grantors or grantees), witnesseth: that in consideration of (here state the consideration, nominal or actual), the said _ does (or do) grant (or grant and convey) unto the said _ _, all (here describe the property or interest therein to be conveyed, including the name of the city or county in which the property is located, and insert covenants or any other provisions). Witness the following signature (or signatures)."

But anyone preparing a deed in Virginia should know that there is no standard deed form in this state. Any writing that meets the requirements of a deed will be valid under Virginia law. Those requirements include:

  • Grantor must be named in the deed.
  • Grantor must have legal authority to convey the property or interest in property described in the deed, including being over the age of majority.

Grantee must be named in the deed.

Grantee must be legally authorized to own real property.

Property at issue must be identified with reasonable accuracy, preferably with a legal description.

  • Intent to convey property must be expressed clearly in the deed.
  • Deed must be signed by the grantor.
  • Deed must be delivered to the grantee.
  • Grantor's signature must be acknowledged by the grantor or proved by two witnesses.

Virginia Warranty Deeds

Most of the deeds commonly used in Virginia are warranty deeds, and contain promises about potential title issues. The two most common are the general warranty deed and the special warranty deed.

A general warranty deed includes the broadest guarantees about a title; a special warranty deed also contains important warranties, but the protection offered isn't as comprehensive as in a general warranty deed.

The general warranty deed is the strongest form of deed in Virginia and the most common deed in use for residential transactions. These deeds contain language essentially guaranteeing that nobody other than the grantor has any claim to the title being transferred.

In a general warranty deed, the grantor promises to defend the grantee against anyone claiming any interest in title, including claims that may have arisen during the grantor's ownership period as well as claims arising at any other point in the the chain of title.

A special warranty deed in Virginia also transfers title with both express and implied warranties and offers promises from the grantor to the grantee about the state of title. That is, it promises that the title is free and clear from other claims, but the warranty is extended only to transfers that occurred during the time the grantor owned the property.

The warranties do not extend to claims that may have arisen before the time the grantor came into ownership. It does not protect a new owner against claims against the property that arose earlier in the chain of title.

A quitclaim deed is not really a deed, as such. In Virginia, these deeds simply release any and all interest the grantor has in the property to another person. The quitclaim deed grantor does not transfer any title or even state what interest they have or even if they have any interest at all in the property. Nor do they make any promises regarding the validity of the title.

This means that the buyer will be on their own if another person or entity comes forward and claims an interest in the property. Generally, these deeds are used only for matters like clearing up title issues or transfers between family members.

A deed of trust , or trust deed, is not a true deed either. Rather, in Virginia, it is a type of mortgage. Property title is transferred in a deed of trust to a trustee. This trustee is generally a trust or title company that has provided the borrower's loan. The trustee holds the real property as security for that loan.

When the buyer of the property repays the real estate purchase loan, the trustee transfers its title is transferred to the borrower. During the time the buyer is paying off the loan, the trustee cannot manage the property; it usually will have only a power of sale if the borrower defaults.

Virginia is a "notice" state, which means that recording a deed in the county where the property is located is necessary to protect the buyer's rights against third parties. Generally, the clerk of the circuit court is responsible for recording and maintaining real property records in each county.

Under property laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia, an unrecorded deed is still binding between the buyer and seller. But a recorded deed gives notice to the entire world of the transfer of the property interest, establishing priority for the buyer in case the seller tries to repeatedly convey the property.

Deeds Void Until Recorded

Recordation of the deed is required to protect the buyer's interest in the property against any interest held by subsequent buyers or lien holders.

A deed in Virginia is considered void as to anyone who buys the property in good faith after that transfer until the deed is recorded in the proper county. Recording a deed is usually required for anyone wishing to obtain title insurance.

  • Real Estate Lawyers: Virginia Property Deeds
  • Deeds: Virginia
  • Virginia Law: Title 55.2, Chapter 2 Section 55.1-300 Form of a Deed
  • Moghullaw: Types of Real Estate Deeds in Virginia

Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson,,, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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Home » Virginia

Virginia Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers

Jeramie Fortenberry

Jeramie Fortenberry

Attorney (J.D., LL.M.)

Last updated Apr 04, 2023

Need to transfer Virginia real estate?

Our deed creation service makes it easy. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed that is attorney-designed to meet Virginia recording requirements.

Get a Customized Virginia Deed Today

A deed is a type of document used to transfer Virginia real estate. It allows one or more current owners ( grantors ) to transfer property to one or more new owners ( grantees ). Our online deed preparation service supports the following Virginia deed forms:

Virginia recognizes three types of deeds that are defined by the warranty of title they provide or don’t provide.

  • General Warranty Deed Form – Provides a full warranty of title that includes a covenant to defend title against all claims, including claims by third parties based on actions that occurred before the grantor owned the property. Va. Code Ann. §§ 55-68 and 55-70 et seq.
  • Special Warranty Deed Form – Provides a limited warranty of title that only covers the period when the grantor owned the property. Va. Code Ann. § 55-69 .
  • Quit Claim Deed Form – Provides no warranty of title.

In addition to the deeds defined by warranty, two types of Virginia deeds are defined by their ability to avoid probate:

  • Virginia TOD Deed Form (Transfer-on-Death Deed) – A modern deed form to transfer real estate at death without going through probate and without sacrificing control of the property during the owner’s lifetime.
  • Life Estate Deed Form – An older form of deed that transfers property at death, but with significant drawbacks (including loss of complete control over the property during the owner’s lifetime).

Forms of Co-Ownership of Virginia Real Estate

A deed to multiple concurrent owners may vest title in three ways:

  • Tenancy in Common – A form of co-ownership in which each owner owns a proportionate interest in the property. On the death of an owner, the deceased owner’s proportionate interest passes to his or her probate estate.
  • Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship – A form of co-ownership in which each owner owns a proportionate interest in the property. On the death of an owner, the deceased owner’s interest passes to the surviving owner or owners without the need for
  • Tenancy by the Entirety  – A form of spousal co-ownership that is similar to a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, except that the spouses are treated like a single owner. Neither spouse may convey the property without the consent of the other spouse, and creditors of only one spouse cannot seize the property without the consent of the other spouse.

If the deed is silent regarding the form of co-ownership, Virginia law assumes that the owners hold their concurrent interests as tenants in common. Va. Code Ann. § 55-20.2 .

How to Transfer Virginia Real Estate

Several easy-to-follow steps are required to create a Virginia deed:

  • Locate the most recent deed to the property. Having the most recent deed will give you important information about how names are worded, how title is held, and the legal description of the property.
  • Create the new deed. Our Deed Generator uses an easy question-and-answer interview to create the right form of deed based on your circumstances.
  • Sign and notarize the new deed. To be valid, the deed must be signed and notarized. The deed must include notary acknowledgment blocks that meet the requirements of Virginia law. Our Deed Generator uses the acknowledgments that are based on the statutorily approved Virginia forms of acknowledgment defined in Va. Code Ann. § 55-118.6 .
  • Record the deed in the land records of the clerk’s office of the circuit court in the jurisdiction where the property is located. Depending on the circumstances, the clerk’s office may requirement payment of recording tax and completion of a county-specific cover sheet.

Get a Virginia deed in minutes

Our deed creation service makes it easy to prepare customized, state-specific deeds to Virginia real estate. Just complete a user-friendly interview and get a customized deed that is attorney-designed to meet Virginia recording requirements.

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  • Virginia deed form customized to your situation
  • Attorney-designed to meet Virginia’s recording requirements
  • Easy step-by-step instructions for signing and filing

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Our user-friendly interview walks you through the process with state-specific guidance to help you create the right deed for your state.

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  1. Virginia Transfer on Death Deed Form Download Printable PDF

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  2. Virginia Quitclaim Deed from Husband and Wife to Individual

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  3. Free West Virginia Deed Forms

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  4. Free Virginia General Warranty Deed Form

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  5. Virginia transfer deed: Fill out & sign online

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  6. Transfer On Death Deed Form West Virginia

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  1. Circuit Court Deed Book Forms

    Instructions Memorandum for Mechanic's Lien Claimed By Sub-Subcontractor Under Virginia Code § 43-9 [Form CC-1514] Instructions Certificate of Release of Mechanics Lien [Form CC-1515] Instructions Certificate of Transfer [Form CC-1520] Instructions Certificate of Extension of Deed of Trust

  2. Deed Transfer Procedures in Virginia

    A deed may include a general provision that states that such deed is subject to any and all covenants and restrictions of record; however, such provision shall not apply to the specific portion of a restrictive covenant purporting to restrict the ownership or use of the property as prohibited by subsection A of § 36-96.6.

  3. § 64.2-635. Optional form of transfer on death deed

    § 64.2-635. Optional form of transfer on death deed. The following form may be used to create a transfer on death deed. The other sections of this article govern the effect of this or any other instrument used to create a transfer on death deed: THIS DEED MUST BE RECORDED BEFORE THE DEATH OF THE OWNER (S), OR IT WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE.

  4. Virginia Deed Forms for Real Estate Transfers

    Get a Customized Virginia Deed Today. A deed is a type of document used to transfer Virginia real estate. It allows one or more current owners ( grantors) to transfer property to one or more new owners ( grantees ). Our online deed preparation service supports the following Virginia deed forms: