What Do I Need to Know Before Signing a Quit Claim Deed?

Deeds act as contracts between two parties to convey the ownership of a piece of property. Selecting the right type of deed to use for a specific property transfer is important. Quitclaim deeds transfer the interest in a property but do not provide a warranty that the seller had a free and clear title to the property. You should fully understand a quitclaim deed’s function before signing it.

Function

A quitclaim deed is generally used to add or remove someone from the title to the property. Because these deeds do not offer a warranty, they are often used between related individuals. Adding a spouse or removing an ex-spouse by a quitclaim deed is common. Quitclaim deeds are worded in a way that legally conveys ownership from the grantor to the grantee. In other words, the owner grants his rights to the property to the buyer.

Signatures

In most states, quitclaim deeds are only signed by the grantors. Their signatures must be witnessed and acknowledged by a notary public. Grantors should be aware that once they sign a quitclaim deed, they forgo any rights they had to the property. After the deed is signed, it will be filed with the land records in the county and will become part of the public records. The new owner’s name will appear on future searches on the title.

Warranty

When a property is conveyed with warranty, the seller provides a guaranty to the buyer that he was the rightful owner and no one else has a claim to the property. If someone tries to claim ownership in the future, the seller is responsible for resolving the issue for the new buyer. Quitclaim deeds do not carry a warranty. When the seller signs the quitclaim, he does not convey a warranty.

Mortgage

If a mortgage exists on the property in the seller’s name, signing a quitclaim deed does not remove the seller's name from the mortgage as well. The deed changes ownership of the property only. It does not transfer the debt obligation to the new buyer. The seller will be removed from the mortgage loan when it is paid off or if a refinance loan is obtained in only the new owner’s name.

Property Condition

Quitclaim deeds convey the property in “as-is” condition to the new buyer. Unless otherwise stated, the seller is not signing any promises of certain property conditions to the buyers. The buyers should be aware of this when using a quitclaim deed to obtain property.

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