Top 5 Myths About Deeds in Washington State

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Real Estate |

Deeds, the legal instruments that transfer ownership of real estate, have been shrouded in myths and misconceptions. These myths often stem from a lack of understanding of the intricacies of property law, leading to confusion and potential pitfalls for homeowners. However, like many aspects of the law, deeds have become the subject of various myths and misconceptions. In this blog, we’ll unravel some of the common myths surrounding deeds and shed light on the realities of property ownership.

Myth 1: Once a Deed is Signed, Ownership Is Immediately Transferred

One assumption can be that the act of just signing a deed is all that is needed to transfer ownership of the property. In reality, there are a few more steps involved. After the deed is signed, it needs to be recorded with the county recorder’s office, along with a Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) form. The recording serves as public notice of the change in ownership, providing a clear and official record of the property transfer.

Myth 2: All Deeds Are the Same

Not all deeds are created equal, and different types of deeds serve different purposes. One common misunderstanding is that all deeds are identical, regardless of the transaction’s specifics. Deeds can include warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds, special warranty deeds, and more. Each type has its own implications regarding the guarantees and assurances provided to the new property owner. It’s crucial to understand the specific type of deed used in a transaction to grasp the extent of the guarantees it offers.

Myth 3: A Deed Is the Same as Title

While related, the terms “deed” and “title” are not interchangeable. A deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of a property, while title refers to the legal concept of ownership. The deed is the instrument used to convey title from one party to another. Clearing up this distinction is essential for understanding the legal nuances of property transactions and ownership.

Myth 4: A Deed Automatically Clears Liens on the Property

Some individuals mistakenly believe that receiving a deed automatically clears any existing liens on the property. Liens, such as mortgages or tax liens, are legal claims against the property that must be addressed separately. A deed itself does not eliminate these encumbrances. Instead, it’s essential to conduct a thorough title search before completing the transaction to identify any existing liens. Clearing these liens may involve negotiations, payments, or other legal processes.

Myth 5: Once a Deed is Signed, It Cannot Be Changed

Deeds are legal documents, and like any legal instrument, they can be modified or corrected under specific circumstances. If a mistake is discovered in a deed after it has been signed and recorded, it may be possible to make corrections through an amendment or a corrective deed. However, the process for correcting errors in a deed varies depending on the nature of the mistake and local laws. It’s advisable to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure that any corrections adhere to legal requirements.


Deeds are integral to property transactions, and understanding the facts surrounding them is crucial for anyone involved in real estate. Debunking these common myths allows individuals to navigate the intricacies of property ownership with a clearer understanding of the legal processes involved. Seeking professional guidance from a real estate attorney or a knowledgeable title professional can further ensure that transactions are conducted smoothly and in compliance with the law. By dispelling these myths, individuals can approach real estate dealings with greater confidence and awareness.

If you need assistance with a deed, give our office a call at (206) 408-8158. You can also learn more about our real estate services by visiting our YouTube channel: