When you purchase a home, you receive a deed to the home. The deed is a legal paper stating that you are the owner of the home and that you are liable for property tax on the home from this point forward. In Alabama, most real estate transactions require a warranty deed -- a deed granting legal protections to the new homeowner and confirming the validity of the sale.
Right to Sell
In Alabama, most real estate transactions require the seller to have a warranty deed. A warranty deed indicates that the deed holder has no outstanding obligations on the property and has the right to sell it. In addition, the seller guarantees that he will defend the buyer from any lawsuits made by third parties in relation to the transaction. For example, if the seller's mortgage holder attempts to sue the buyer for balance the seller owes on the house, the seller is responsible for defending him against this claim.
For a warranty deed to be valid, both the grantor and the grantee -- the seller and the buyer -- must sign the deed in front of a notary. In addition, Alabama requires warranty deeds to list the value of the home, the names and addresses of both buyer and seller, the property's city and county and a description of the property.
Limited Warranty Deed
Alabama allows some sellers to use a limited warranty deed to transfer real estate to the name of a buyer. A limited warranty deed, unlike a statutory warranty deed, does not protect the buyer against third party lawsuits. Instead, this deed guarantees only that the grantor owns the deed to the home and has owned the deed during the entire time he lived there. This type of deed therefore offers buyers limited protection against legal complications arising from the sale of the home.
What to Do
Consult your attorney prior to purchasing real estate in Alabama to make sure your statutory warranty is valid and the sale is processed correctly. After you receive the warranty deed, go to the probate court to record your deed. After you do this, you must visit the Revenue Commissioner's office to get your property assessed and pay property tax that you may owe on it. If you purchase the home after October 1, the tax account on it will not transfer into your name until October 1 of the next year.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.