A quit claim deed is a type of real estate transaction where ownership of a property transfers from one party to another without an official sale taking place. Unlike a warranty deed and a special warranty deed, a quit claim deed does not offer protection against liens, judgments, property disputes, and claims of ownership by other parties. In fact, neither the buyer nor the seller conduct a title search when using this type of deed.
The buyer in this type of arrangement assumes the risk of not finding out about potential problems with the title. The reason for this is that the person transferring the title is not obligated to disclose any claims against the property, even when he or she is fully aware of them. A quit claim deed means that the owner of the property literally quits his or her interest in it and voluntarily gives it to another party. However, signing the quit claim deed does not mean that person has legitimate ownership of it.
Quit Claim Deeds Are During Times of Family Transition
Given the lack of protection offered by a quit claim deed, it would seem like it would not be an attractive option. However, it is important to remember that it is rarely used when a property is sold outright. Quit claim deeds tend to be most common in transactions between family members. For example, one spouse may quit his or her interest in the property during a divorce and allow the other spouse to assume sole ownership of it.
Quit claim deeds are also common in transactions involving parents and adult children or other close family members. The person taking over ownership of the property feels reasonably comfortable that the other legitimately owns the property and is aware of liens or any other claims against it.
The Owner Must Still Pay the Mortgage on the Property
Both parties need to understand that the person whose name is on the mortgage is still responsible for making monthly payments. This is true even when that person signs over the property to someone else in a quit claim deed. It is up to the parties themselves to work out payment arrangements in this case. The person who assumes ownership of the property has the right to remain there but cannot be held responsible for the mortgage payments. He or she would have to vacate in the event of a foreclosure though.
How a Quit Claim Deed Compares to Other Types of Real Estate Deeds
Three other types of deeds exist to govern real estate transactions. These include:
Warranty Deed: This type offers the most protection to buyers. That is because it protects them from all future claims made against the title. The seller agrees to cover those claims that originated during the time he or she owned the property as well as before it. It is most common in residential real estate transactions and among business owners who desire to sell real property. A warranty deed grants the buyer several specific covenants in addition to the protection already described.
Special Warranty Deed: This type of deed limits the seller’s liability against future claims to the time when he or she owned the property. A special warranty deed only states that the title was free and clear at the time of the sale.
Contract for Deed: This deed type is also more common among related individuals than two parties previously unknown to each other. Even so, it can be used by any buyer and seller who mutually agree on the terms of the purchase. A contract for deed can be a good choice when a buyer cannot qualify for a traditional mortgage due to poor credit, inadequate income, inability to make the down payment, or a variety of other reasons. The parties themselves decide on the monthly payment amount and the point at which the buyer can take ownership.
How to Prepare a Quit Claim Deed Online
The person who is transferring ownership of the property to another using a quit claim deed should be the one to complete the form. He or she is called the grantor and will need the following information to proceed:
A complete legal description of the property: This is a paragraph that describes the exact property measurements. If nothing has changed, the grantor can obtain this information from the property’s current deed. This information is also available at the county recorder’s office in the same municipality where the property stands. If the property has changed since the drafting of the original deed, the grantor should contact a land surveyor for a new description.
Provide the full names of both the grantor and the person receiving the property. It is imperative to spell all names correctly to avoid processing delays. This information can be handwritten or typed.
If any special clauses exist between parties, they need to be listed after the legal description. The grantor should also indicate the reason for the quit claim in this space. Some examples of clauses that may go here include details about a current lien on the property or restrictions imposed by those who originally built the property. In the case of divorce, this section of the quit claim deed should include a sentence stating the property is being transferred due to a property or matrimonial agreement.
The grantor needs to take the completed quit claim deed to a notary public and sign it in his or her presence. The form is now ready for filing at the county recorder’s office.
Information to Know When Filing a Quit Claim Deed
The grantor needs to pay a fee upon filing the completed quit claim deed. The amount depends on the price the property is being transferred for as well as the number of pages in the deed. Before the final filing, the grantor needs to complete a preliminary change of ownership report. The information contained in this report allows the county clerk to determine the filing fee. Both parties involved in a quit claim deed must understand that it is a legally binding document once signed and filed.