Over time, many people can own the same piece of property. The various transfers of ownership are documented through deeds. The deeds are filed with the county real estate department, and during a title search, the most recent deed transfer is examined. The grantee on the last deed recorded is considered the title holder. In Pennsylvania, the owner has the ability to add another person to the title of the property through a deed.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you are planning on adding a name to your house deed, you will need to have a new deed prepared that is signed under the supervision of a certified notary public.
The Basics of Quitclaim Deeds
To add a name to a house deed in Pennsylvania, a new deed is prepared. The owner can prepare his own deed or contact an attorney or document service to provide one. Using an attorney is the best route because the attorney ensures that the deed is prepared per the requirements of the state. In Pennsylvania, deeds must contain the legal names of the grantors and grantees and a complete legal description of the property. Often, a quit claim deed is used to add another name. Quit claim deeds function to convey property ownership from one party to another. However, they offer no guarantee to the grantee that the grantor holds a free and clear title to the property.
Initiating a Title Search
Before the deed is prepared, a title search should be conducted to check the last deed filed on record. A title abstractor preforms this task. Additionally, the owner is able to complete the research himself at the county recorder of deed's office, generally at the courthouse. Make sure the current owners listed by the county are correct. Check the spelling of the names as well.
Undertaking Deed Signing
After the preliminary precautions are verified, the deed is ready for signing. In Pennsylvania, the grantors need to sign the deed in the presence of a certified notary public. The notary then acknowledges the signature and stamps the deed with his seal. Some deeds contain a clause concerning bituminous coal deposits under the land in question. If the deed contains this clause, the grantee needs to sign in the appropriate area.
Other Important Considerations
After the deed is signed, it is submitted for recording to the county recorder of deeds. A recording fee is charged at this time, and these fees vary by county in Pennsylvania. Also, some transfers may be subject to real property transfer tax. The recorder of deeds will determine this at the time of recording. However, there is often no exchange of money when a name is added as an owner. The recorder may also require the realty transfer tax form to be completed at the time of recording.