In California and most of the United States, property ownership can be transferred quite easily. While the financing portion can be involved, the legal transfer of ownership (the paperwork) is pretty straightforward. In California, the document used to transfer real estate from one owner to another is called a quitclaim deed. The quitclaim deed authorizes the transfer of interest (conveyance) from the grantor to the grantee. Grantors must hire a notary public for this process.
Hire a notary public for one hour. In California, you need not obtain a lawyer to complete the quitclaim deed. Any professional bonded to the state government is authorized to witness, sign, date and notarize a quitclaim deed. Schedule a meeting between yourself, the grantee (new owner) and the notary.
Complete the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (Resource 1). This is a required document in California. On this form, you must detail the property information (structures, land, dimensions), the grantor and grantee, the type of transfer and the original purchase price.
Sit down for the quitclaim meeting. To help the grantee, you might want to bring all of your original title and deed documents. California law does not guarantee a clean title (a property free of liens) when a quitclaim is filed. To give the new grantee peace of mind, you can bring these documents to the meeting.
Sign the quitclaim deed. Have the grantee complete his section. The notary must check both of your IDs, sign, date and place his embossed seal on the document. Make copies for yourself, the grantee and the notary.
Bring the quitclaim deed and the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report to your Registry of Deeds. These are both required to record the deed. Pay the recording fee. Wait for two weeks to get the official book and page number where the deed is recorded.
- California Real Estate Law
- 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.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.