Title Deed vs. Deed of Trust vs. Deed of Reconveyance?

Posted On: September 16, 2011
By: ffdadmin

A title deed shows ownership of the property executed between two parties: grantee (buyer) and grantor (seller). There are three types of title deeds you might encounter in a San Francisco real estate transaction. In San Francisco, deeds are recorded with the city’s office of the assessor-recorder:

1) The grant deed: This document transfers ownership and carries with it one basic promise – that the title to the property hasn’t been given to anyone else and that the transfer is free from encumbrances other than those listed.

2) The quitclaim deed: This document transfers any ownership interest a person has in a particular property. It does not make any guarantee or representation about how much interest the person has in the subject property. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used in divorces or when there is a cloud on title.

3) The warranty deed: This document transfers ownership with an explicit promise (warranty) to the buyer that the seller has clear title to the property free of any liens or ownership claims by others. It comes with a guarantee that the seller (transferor) will compensate the buyer if their promise is false. A warranty deed can make other promises as well.

The most common title deed in a SF residential purchase is the grant deed. Title insurance is what a buyer purchases from a title company to provide themselves with protection and a means of financial compensation in the case that someone else comes forward with an ownership claim to the property, or encroachments, easements or other restrictions are discovered that restrict or decrease the value or usability of the property. When a title policy is issued, it will come with a list of exceptions to coverage. These are a list of items that the title company will not provide insurance against. Common examples of exclusions on a title report include mortgages, tax liens, utility easements, and CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions).

In San Francisco, if you would like a copy of your title deed you can request one from the assessor’s office using the following process:

You can obtain a copy of your title deed by coming to our office or sending a written request along with a payment (Recording Fees). If you do not know the number of pages in the document, you may send a check with the instruction of Not to exceed $____ (written in the Payable To area of the check) in order to avoid rejection of your request for lack of adequate funds. Please note that you will receive the most current deed unless you specify the book and page of the document in your letter. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request.

Example of a Grant Deed

A deed of trust is a loan document that involves three parties. The buyer of the property is known as the trustor (borrower), the lender that is making the loan is known as the beneficiary. The trustee is a neutral third party (usually a title company, attorney or other corporation) that has the power to sell the home (aka foreclosure) if a borrower does not meet their obligations (ie, doesn’t make their monthly loan payment) until the loan is repaid in full.

Deed of Trust Example



Finally, a deed of reconveyance is a document that shows that a loan made by a deed of trust has been paid in full. When the bank issues a deed of reconveyance it is important to remember that the actual title on the property does not change.

Example of a Reconveyance Deed