Your house deed is the legal document that states you hold title to your property. You can add a party to your house title by drafting and signing a new deed. In many states, you can obtain blank deed forms to fill out from your register of deeds clerk; in some states, an attorney will have to draft the new deed. State and county property laws and deed recording requirements vary and a local attorney can provide location-specific details.
Understanding the Quitclaim Deed
A new party can be added to house title by transferring ownership from yourself, as grantor, to you and the new party, as grantee. Quitclaim deeds are often used to add parties such as a homeowner's child, spouse, fiance or partner. A quitclaim deed does not provide the newly added party any warranties of title. Warranty deeds which are generally used in real estate sales and guarantee sellers transfer good title.
Gathering Required Information for a Deed
State laws require deeds to contain specific information. For example, generally, property must be identified by address, legal description and tax map identification number. The manner in which grantees hold title must be stated after their names: for example, "Pablo Sanchez and Maria Rodriguez, as joint tenants." Deeds also must comply with state recording requirements, such as margin, paper and font sizes. Generally, deeds must identify the person who drafted the document and to whom it should be sent after recording.
Signing the Deed
The grantor must sign a deed in order to successfully add a party to his house title, but a newly added party generally does not need to sign the deed. The grantor's signature must be dated, and most states require notarization. Some states require additional witnesses or signing formalities. Typically, a grantor must sign with a black or dark blue ink pen so the deed can be easily scanned or photocopied. The grantor's name must be typed or legibly printed below his signature.
Registering Quitclaim Deeds
A completed and signed deed is generally recorded at the register of land records in the county in which the property is located. A clerk stamps the deed with the date and time of recording and the book and page number in which the deed is recorded. You must pay a fee the time of recording. Standard recording fees are in the range of $14 to $21. Transfer taxes may be due at the time of recording, depending on county and state laws.
- Sacramento County Public Law Library: Law 101 Deeds and Affidavits
- County Recorder of Santa Cruz California: Recording
- The Free Dictionary By Farlex: Deed
- Suffolk County Government: How to Record a Deed and Avoid Rejections
- The Free Dictionary By Farlex: Quitclaim Deed
- Probate-estate-planner.com: Quit Claim Deeds, Probate Panacea or Pitfall?
- HG.org. "Contracts 101—Warranty vs Quitclaim Deeds." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.
- Realtor.com. "When Do You Need to Get a Quitclaim Deed?' Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.
- DivorceNet. "Interspousal Transfers Versus Quit Claim Deeds." Accessed Aug. 12, 2020.
- California State Board of Equalization. "Property Ownership and Deed Recording," Page 7. Accessed Aug. 13, 2020.
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.