Deeds are legal documents used to convey interest in an asset, such as real property. There are different kinds of deeds and each of them are used for a specific purpose. For example, a warranty deed can transfer interest as easily as a quitclaim deed, but there are certain “warranties” or guarantees that are given with a warranty deed that you may not wish to provide. A warranty deed agrees to “warrant” that the title being transferred is good title; free from any liens or defects. On the other hand, a quitclaim deed simply transfers any interest that a person may or may not have in the property; nothing more, nothing less. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used when splitting interests in property.
Locate your current deed. Carefully review all of the information on it to be certain that it is correct. If you are the only one holding title to the property, and the deed does not state otherwise, you have a 100 percent interest in the property. If you share title with one or more people, then you do not possess a 100 percent interest, but you do have a 100 percent interest in your particular share. If you are conveying one-half of your interest, and if the property is your homestead, your spouse must acknowledge the transaction by signing the quitclaim deed with you.
Obtain a copy of a blank quitclaim deed from an office supply store, an online source, or the county clerk’s office. Using your title deed as a guideline, prepare the deed for signature and recording. Begin by entering your name (and your spouse’s name (if applicable)) under the “grantor(s)” section of the deed. It’s important to clearly state how you are “vesting” title and list the percentage of the interest being conveyed. For example, if you are John M. Smith, and you are married, the deed should read, “John M. Smith and Susan S. Smith, husband and wife to Jane M. Doe, a single woman, as to a one-half interest.” The phrases “as husband and wife” and “a single woman” show the vesting, and the remainder of the sentence reveals how much interest is being conveyed. The end result is that John M. Smith and Susan S. Smith each have one-quarter interest (a combined 50 percent interest) and Jane M. Doe has a 50 percent interest. Enter the buyer’s name under the “grantee” section, listing her marital status. Consult an attorney for different kinds of vesting options. Continue entering information on the deed, such as the legal description, the tax identification number, and the physical address.
Sign your quitclaim deed in the presence of a notary and witnesses. States can differ as to the required number of witnesses. However, a qualified notary or the clerk at the county recorder’s office can advise you of your state’s laws. Take the signed and notarized deed to the county, pay the required fees and have it filed in the public records.
State laws vary concerning the transfer of property. If you own the property separately from your spouse, she may be required to sign the quitclaim deed as well. Check the state statutes, or consult an attorney if you are unsure, or as an abundance of caution, have her sign the deed too.
- Land Title Group, LLC: Types of Deeds
- The San Diego Union Tribune; Quit Claim Deed Is A One Way Transaction; Robert J. Bruss; 2006
- HG.org. "Contracts 101—Warranty vs Quitclaim Deeds." 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.
Anita Cooper has been writing about real-estate topics since 2010. Her articles have appeared in the trade magazine "Real Estate Wealth," as well as on various websites. Cooper owns and operates a small writing business providing website and copy-writing material to real-estate professionals.