The title to a home should not be confused with the house deed. A deed is simply a conveyance document. It can transfer ownership of the property, but does not represent ownership. The "title" to a home is the entire ownership package--including all warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. A title search will decide who owns the property. However, in order to change the name on a title, you need to file a quitclaim deed.
Contact all vested owners on the property. Anyone who holds a vested interest in the property must both consent to and sign a quitclaim deed. Since you are only technically changing ownership (from your old name to your new name), this shouldn't be a sticking point with any vested owners.
Collect the legal document that verifies your new, legal name. This is often a marriage license or certificate. This must be presented and verified with a government-issued ID when the quitclaim is executed.
Obtain a blank quitclaim document. Make sure you get a deed that lists the correct state for the property. See Resource 1 for a blank copy.
Hire a notary public. You will likely only need her for one hour. Schedule a meeting between yourself, any other vested owners and the notary public. Make sure all parties bring two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID. The notary must bring her embossed seal.
Execute the deed. You and the other vested owners are both the grantors and the grantees. You will copy over all names as written, except for your own. Double check all signatures and dates. The notary must witness this, then sign, date and place her embossed seal on the document. Make copies for all parties.
Bring the original deed to the Registry of Deeds for the town in which the home is located. Pay recording fee. This is normally no more than $50. Once recorded, write down the book and page number. The deed is now legal and your legal name will be reflected as such on any title search.
You may wish to use a real estate attorney (who is also a notary). A quitclaim deed is a legal document and a conveyance error could cost you dearly.
- Bankrate: How Should You Title Your Home?
- Bankrate: Checklist for Name Change After Marriage
- Bankrate: Understanding Quitclaim Deed, Warranty Deed
- 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.
- You may wish to use a real estate attorney (who is also a notary). A quitclaim deed is a legal document and a conveyance error could cost you dearly.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.