A Pennsylvania quitclaim deed is a fairly simple document that can be filed through a fairly simple procedure. If you're transferring title to real estate through a quitclaim deed, it's important to understand not only the procedure but the consequences of using a quitclaim deed instead of a warranty deed.
To transfer property via quitclaim deed in Pennsylvania, complete the appropriate quitclaim deed paperwork, then file the documents with the register of deeds for the county in which the property is located.
What is a Property Deed?
A property deed is the evidence of ownership in real estate. Just like a car title proves that you own a car, a deed proves that you own a house. Property deeds are public record, and they are recorded with the register or recorder of deeds in the county where the property is located. A recorded deed puts the world on notice of your ownership interest.
Types of Property Deeds
There are various types of property deeds, including quitclaim deeds, general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, sheriffs' deeds, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and administrators' deeds. The most common types for regular conveyances of property, however, are general warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds.
Quitclaim Deed vs. General Warranty Deed
A general warranty deed is the type of deed you get when you buy a property in a regular real estate sale transaction. The seller, in transferring by general warranty deed, is warranting that he has the right to sell the property and that the property is free of all liens and encumbrances. At the sale, all liens are paid in full or as agreed upon by the lienholders, and a title company typically ensures the transaction as passing clear title from the seller to the buyer.
A quitclaim deed is a deed that transfers only what the transferor owns. A seller or transferor who transfers by quitclaim deed is making no warranties about the title; the transferee or buyer is receiving exactly what the transferor is able to give. If someone owns 10 percent of a property and transfers the property via quitclaim deed, the recipient is getting 10 percent ownership of the property, and if there are mortgages, tax liens, judgment liens or any other types of liens attached, those come with the transfer.
Filing a Quitclaim Deed in PA
Filing a quitclaim deed in Pennsylvania is a fairly simple process. It's a matter of filling out a form and filing it. Many county websites or county clerk's offices have form quitclaim deeds you can download or copy, or you can find sample deeds by doing a quick web search.
The deed will need to provide the names and addresses of the buyer and the seller, and it will need to state the consideration (the purchase price) for the transfer, although this can be as little as a dollar.
The deed will also need to include the address and legal description for the property, which can be found on prior deeds or mortgages, or which you can research at the county clerk's office. The deed must be signed by both parties; your state's law may require witnesses and/or a notary of the signatures.
Once you have the deed prepared, take it to the recorder of deeds for the county where the property is situated. Some counties in Pennsylvania have online deed recording available at the county website; others do not. You'll need to pay a fee, which varies from county to county.
For example, in Montgomery County, near Philadelphia, the fee for recording a deed is $86.75 for up to four pages and up to four names, and $1 per additional name and $4 per additional page. In York County, on the other hand, the fee for recording a deed is $85.25 for up to four pages and up to four names, plus $0.50 per additional name and $2 per additional page. Most quitclaim deeds are not more than four pages.
- Bankrate: What You Should Know About Quitclaim Deeds
- Investopedia: Quitclaim Deed
- Main Line Family Law Center: Do-It-Yourself Divorce: How to File a Quit Claim Deed
- The Law Offices of Leo T. White, LLC: Pennsylvania Deed Preparation
- Investopedia: Understanding Property Deeds
- Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds: Recording Fee Schedule
- York County Recorder of Deeds: Recording Fees
- rare paper image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com