A deed is a document that transfers an ownership interest in real property from one owner, group of owners, or entity to another. Different Hawaii deed forms are used for different types of transactions. These are the most commonly used deed forms in Hawaii.
Hawaii General Warranty Deed
In Hawaii, a warranty deed, sometimes called a general warranty deed, transfers a clear and complete title to property from a grantor to a grantee. The grantor guarantees that their ownership of the property is clean and unencumbered, except as expressly noted.
A warranty deed also guarantees that any encumbrances by any prior owners have also been cleared. If it turns out in the future that the grantor’s title was not clear, they are responsible for the costs of resolving any title issues for the grantee.
A Hawaii quitclaim deed transfers a grantor’s entire ownership interest to a grantee. However, unlike a general warranty deed, a quitclaim deed makes no guarantees that the grantor’s title is clear and unencumbered.
Quitclaim deeds are rarely used between buyers and sellers of property because they offer no protection to buyers. The most common uses for quitclaim deeds are transfers between family members, between spouses due to divorce, or gifts.
A special warranty deed offers more protections for the grantee than a quitclaim deed but a more limited scope of protection than a general warranty deed. Under a Hawaii special warranty deed, the grantor guarantees that there are no encumbrances on the property that they have caused.
However, a special warranty deed does not make any guarantees as to whether prior owners received or granted a clean title. There may still be title defects from prior transfers that the grantor is not required to disclose or even be aware of.
A deed of trust operates similarly to a mortgage. Like a mortgage, a Hawaii deed of trust gives a borrower’s ownership interest to a lender (known as the “trustee”) as security for a loan. If the borrower defaults on the loan, the deed of trust allows the lender to sell the property to collect on the debt without a court order.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about Hawaii property deeds.