A deed is the legal document that proves your ownership to a specific piece of real estate. A new deed must be prepared and signed in order to transfer a property interest to a new owner. Property rights and deed requirements are governed by individual state laws, and Iowa has specific rules for conveying real estate.
It is important to choose the correct deed form when transferring real estate ownership. For example, in Iowa, when you sign a quitclaim deed you do not warrant that the property is free and clear, or even that you have an ownership interest to convey.
Quitclaims deeds are commonly used in divorces when spouses transfer marital property to one another, or when a parent wants to transfer ownership to an adult child. Warranty deeds are generally used in real estate sales transactions. They guarantee that you own the property, and are transferring free and clear title.
Deeds must include specific information to create a valid property transfer. For example, Iowa deeds identify the names of the transferring and receiving parties. If there are multiple new owners, generally it states after their names how they will hold title. For example, it might say, "John Smith and Mary Jones, as tenants in common," or "Bob Jones and Sandy Talbot, as husband and wife." Deeds also state details such as the property's sales price and legal description.
Execution of the Deed
You must properly execute an Iowa deed to successfully transfer your property rights. A deed must be dated, and the property owner must sign it in the presence of a notary public.
Signatures must be in an ink color that can be easily read and photocopied, such as black or dark blue. Names must be neatly printed or typed below signatures. An attorney can ensure that your deed is properly drafted and executed.
Recording the Deed
Iowa deeds are stamped and filed in the recorder's office for the county in which the property is located. Generally, transfer taxes are due upon recording and are based on the property's sales price. Such taxes are subject to change, but as of 2019, transfer taxes on a $100,000 property sale were approximately $159.20.
If no money is paid for the transfer of the property, such as transfers made in divorces, or if the sales price is less than $500, no transfer taxes are due. Individual counties also charge filing fees, which run approximately $7.00 for a one-page deed.
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.