A quitclaim deed transfers the ownership of real estate from one party to another. With a quitclaim deed, you don't have to make any guarantee that you actually own the property. This sounds risky for a regular real estate transaction, and it is, but there are valid reasons to use quitclaim deeds.
Back in the gold rush days, people needed a way to transfer ownership of pieces of land quickly. A quitclaim deed, which is simpler than the other types of deeds, worked best to facilitate land claims without unnecessary expense, wait times, and stacks of documents. Thanks to quitclaim deeds, miners could get to work without having to suffer bureaucratic delays.
A common reason to transfer a quitclaim deed is because a property owner wants to give the property to someone else. For example, a mother could use a quitclaim deed to transfer her home to her child. In such a transaction, there is often no need for the property owner to provide guarantee of ownership because the two parties are related.
Partial Transfer of Ownership
With a quitclaim deed, you don't have to transfer ownership of the entire property. You could choose to only transfer a part of it. For example, in a divorce, the husband could use a quitclaim deed to give the wife his portion of the house they own together. You could also use a quitclaim deed to settle border disputes with neighbors.
In a regular real estate transaction with a warranty deed, the buyer conducts a title examination and obtains title insurance. In a quitclaim deed transfer, there is no title examination because there is no obligation for the seller to provide a free and clear title. If title problems appear after the property transfer, the buyer wouldn't be able to sue the seller.
- LegalZoom: What is a Quitclaim Deed?
- Ohio State Bar Association: Quitclaim Deed Transfers Property Without Ownership Guarantees
- 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.
Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.