We usually think of a deed as a piece of paper that proves we own our house and land, but Deeds are actually legal documents proving the ownership of any type of personal property. Although we call the certificate that proves we own our car a Title it is actually a deed. During the time that slavery was in existence slaves were bought and sold and the bill of sale was recorded in the deed books of the local courthouse.

A real estate (land) deed is a document that contains the following information:
     The name(s) of the seller and buyer
     A unique description that identifies the property being sold
     The dollar amount that changed hands (from the purchaser to the seller)
     The certification that the seller has the right to sell the property
     Whether the property is encumbered or free and clear
     The signature of the seller(s) and witnesses
     Prior to the early 1900s if the seller was married his wife had to also sign the deed and privately agree to the sale.

Although now days most deeds are preprinted fill-in-the-blanks forms they still conform to the above. Prior to the use of pre-printed forms deeds were hand written but they still contained the same information.

Example of a standard deed:

The name of the State and County and date I [name of seller] have this day bargained and sold to [name of buyer] both of the county of ____ and State of ____ if either the buyer or seller lives somewhere other than the county and state the property is located it will read: I [name of seller] of the county of ___ and State of _____ have this day bargained and sold to [name of buyer] of the county of ___ and State of ___ for the consideration of $___ [the purchase price] if a warrant is used to pay for the land the type of warrant is noted and the warrant number, if the land was being granted (inherited, granted by a court hearing, etc.) the reason is listed to me in hand paid a certain tract or parcel of land situated in said county and state bounded as follows: The legal description of the property is stated. In public domain states the description will include the acreage being sold, the section, township, range and meridian. If a State Land state the description will contain neighbors names and all kinds of information. To have and to hold the said land within described and all Appurtenances [old word for improvement - spelled a hundred different way in old deeds] belonging thereto, to the said [buyer] and every part of the same. I do covenant that I am lawfully seized of said land and have a good right to convey it and that the same is unencumbered. I do further agree to warrant and defend the title to the same [buyer] his heirs forever against the lawful claims of all persons whatsoever. Witness my hand and seal this ___ day of ____ of ____. The signature of the seller(s) and witnesses follow. The next section is by the court clerk. If the seller is married his wife must be examined in private and state that she agrees to the sale. If the seller is unmarried then the next section will be information of the court clerk about the recording of the deed.

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