What Are Quitclaim Deeds?
Sarah Sharkey3-minute read
March 25, 2022
Quitclaim deeds can be a quick way to transfer interest in real property. For instance, if you want to transfer property between family members, a quitclaim deed could be the way to go. They can’t be used in a traditional real estate sale, however.
Find out more about what a quitclaim deed is today, then decide if one is right for your situation.
Quitclaim Deeds, Defined
A quitclaim deed is a legal document used to transfer property interest from one party (grantor) to another (grantee). Quitclaim deeds offer little buyer protection and are most often used to transfer property between family members.
When Do You Need A Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed can be an efficient way to transfer interest in a property. When you execute this transaction, the original owner can have their name removed from the deed and transfer the title and ownership rights to another party.
However, the execution of a quitclaim deed does not absolve the original owner from any mortgage responsibilities. In fact, the mortgage details are not changed at all.
With that, a quitclaim deed is not ideal in traditional real estate transactions involving an unrelated buyer and seller. But in some circumstances, this type of deed can be the perfect fit.
Here are some instances when a quitclaim deed could suit your needs:
- Adding a name to the property title: If you acquire property before your marriage, you may wish to add your spouse’s name to the property title after the wedding. Or you may decide to add your spouse’s name to the title after obtaining a mortgage without their involvement due to credit concerns. A quitclaim deed can be a quick solution.
- Transferring property to a family member: You can transfer your interest in a property to a family member who understands the situation. For example, you may want to transfer the title of your house to your child without saddling them with a mortgage obligation.
- Removing a spouse’s name from title per divorce: When one spouse is keeping the house in a divorce, removing the other spouse’s name is an important step. A quitclaim deed is typically used in this scenario for a quick resolution.
- Transferring property interest to a business partner: If you’re in business with someone, it could be beneficial to have the title in their name at some point. Instead of a traditional sale of your interest in the property, a quitclaim deed allows for a smoother process.
- Fixing a defect on the title: If you find a mistake on the title, like a misspelled name, you should consider a quitclaim deed. It will allow you to correct the mistake without affecting your mortgage.
If you’re considering a quitclaim deed, you should consult a real estate attorney before moving forward. They can help to assess your situation and determine if this is the right step.
Warranty Deed Vs. Quitclaim Deed
A warranty deed is a more common document used in real estate transactions. The buyer is protected with a warranty deed because it confirms that the seller holds the property title free and clear before the transfer.
A warranty deed is very different from a quitclaim deed, which makes no such promises about the title. Instead, quitclaim deeds can be executed while there are outstanding mortgages or liens on the title.
Since these two deeds promise very different things, they are used in very different circumstances. A warranty deed is used in traditional real estate transactions between buyers and sellers. A quitclaim deed is often used to transfer property between family members.
How To File A Quitclaim Deed
In order to file a quitclaim deed, you’ll need to file a form with your county. You can ensure a smooth process by gathering this information ahead of time:
- The legal names of all parties involved: Make sure that all of the spelling is correct.
- The parcel description: Typically, the street address and the property number assigned by the property appraiser will be needed.
In most states, you’ll need to execute the document with both parties present with the help of a public notary. After that, you’ll deliver the document to the grantee and file it with the state.
Before moving forward, you should confirm the process of filing a quitclaim deed in your county. The procedure can vary based on your state and county ordinances.
The Final Word
A quitclaim deed is a helpful legal document to transfer the ownership rights and interest of a property. The grantor and grantee should both confirm that they are comfortable with the legal construct of a quitclaim deed before moving forward.
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