When a real estate developer purchases raw land and builds houses on the land, the developer holds the title to all of the land in the housing tract. To transfer an individual lot to a buyer, the real estate developer issues a corporation grant deed to the buyer. The real estate developer still owns the other lots, and it issues a separate corporation grant deed to each new buyer.
The real estate developer may also issue corporation grant deeds to a homeowners' association. In housing tracts that a homeowners' association controls, the association manages common use areas, such as tennis courts, boat docks, and recreational centers that all residents can use. Each parcel or easement is covered by a separate corporation grant deed.
When a buyer purchases a house from a real estate developer, the real estate developer registers the property transfer with the county. According to the County of Los Angeles, the seller mails a copy of the corporation grant deed to the homeowner after the purchase is complete, although it may take a few weeks for delivery. If a homeowner has lost his copy of this deed, the homeowner can purchase a new copy of the corporation grant deed from the county clerk or recorder. Private companies also sell copies of corporation grant deeds, although this is usually more expensive than getting a copy from the county.
A corporation grant deed helps establish the chain of title, which refers to each individual or organization that has owned the property. According to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a corporation grant deed will not protect a homeowner from foreclosure if the mortgage lender has sufficient documents to establish the chain of title, although it can prevent fraudulent foreclosure proceedings. The homeowner does not need to provide a copy of the corporation grant deed to the county before a deadline to prevent a foreclosure, because the county already has a copy of this deed in its records.