Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P.

Serving Story County and Central Iowa since 1906

323 6th St.
Ames, IA 50010-0664

Phone: (515) 232-4732

REAL ESTATE :: Back to Practice Areas

I. Brokers
II. Contracts and Transfers
III. Mortgages and Foreclosure
IV. Deeds
V. Home Inspection
VI. Closing
VII. Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions

See also:


A deed is a legal document which records the transfer of real estate between owners. No real estate transaction is complete unless the buyer receives a valid deed to the property. Legal requirements for deeds include:

  • Must be in writing. Verbal transactions are not legitimate.
  • The names of the buyer and seller.
  • A legal description of the property.
  • The signature of the person transferring ownership.
  • Must follow state and federal laws.

State laws differ regarding the language and format for deeds. There are different types and the two most common deeds are quitclaim and warranty deeds.

A quitclaim deed allows the seller to resign any rights he or she has to the property. However, it does not guarantee the extent of these rights. Quitclaim deeds are often employed during divorces, when one spouse transfers property rights to the other. This does not release one from an obligation to a mortgage they have signed.

A warranty deed includes an explicit promise to the buyer that the seller has clear title to the real estate. The warranty deed offers the buyer much greater protection, as it guarantees that no liens or encumbrances are extant against the property and undisclosed in the deed. It also obligates the seller to protect the buyer against any defects in the deed. A special warranty deed only contains this guarantee for claims which arose while the seller was the legal owner of the property.

It is a good idea to officially record the deed and make it public record. County governments record property deeds at an office, which is often (but not always) called one of the following:

  • The recorder’s office.
  • The land registry office.
  • The register of deeds.

Even if the broker or closer handles the recording of the deed, it is a good idea to make sure that this crucial step takes place. Recording the deed makes the transfer public record, and allows future title searchers to find the history of a property’s ownership.

Given the crucial nature of the deed, it is vital to have the deed reviewed by a competent real estate attorney.

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Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., is an Iowa general practice law firm with practice including, but not limited to  Administrative Law, Adoption Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking Law, Business Law (including business organization, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), incorporations, and sales of businesses and business assets), Civil Rights, Commercial Law, Construction Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law (including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, child custody, dissolution modification), Government, Government Contracts, Litigation, Personal Injury (including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Wrongful Death), Product Liability, Professional Negligence Law, Real Estate (including mortgage loan closings, IRC Section 1031 exchanges, subdivisions, platting, condominiums, and cooperative housing), Municipal Law, Taxation Law and Tax Preparation, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law (including financial and medical powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships, trust administration, and estate administration), Workers Compensation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

The offices of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., are located in Ames, Iowa. The lawyers and staff of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., serve clients throughout Iowa, including the cities of Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Slater, Zearing, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Colo, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Boone, Webster City, Eldora, Grundy Center, Newton, Adel, Eldora, Ankeny, Johnston, Indianola, Cedar Falls, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Clarion, Knoxville, and the communities that make up Story, Polk, Linn, Webster, Blackhawk, Marshall, Boone, Hamilton, Jasper, Dallas, Hardin, Warren, Greene, Wright, and Marion counties.