Quitclaim Deeds: The Steps to Take

Property transactions and deeds can cause stress for all parties involved, but having an understanding of how to properly navigate these scenarios can be helpful. Here is a basic breakdown of quitclaim deeds, so you’re able to better understand if they’re the right solution for your particular situation. A deed is a legal document used to transfer ownership of real property from one person to another. There are several types of deeds used when transferring real estate, each serving a different purpose, quitclaim deeds being one. 

What is a quitclaim deed? 

Quitclaim deeds, sometimes mispronounced “quick claim deeds,” are a type of deed used to transfer property ownership without any kind of warranty. Without the security of a warranty, this type of deed could present certain risks to the buyer/recipient because it offers little to no legal options if there is a problem with the title down the road. 

This means, the grantee (person receiving the property) cannot sue the grantor (person giving the property) if an issue with the title arises after the transfer has been made. If this is the case, why would someone choose to use a quitclaim deed. 

Why would someone use a quitclaim deed? 

When a title transfer is being made between either two parties who know each other, family members (parent and child or spouses, etc.) or when no money is being exchanged in the process, a quitclaim deed serves as an effective means to transfer a property title. In the case of property being given, not sold, these deeds are a fitting solution. They’re also useful to resolve a defect in a title, such as a name misspelling or in the case of a divorce. Because of the legal risks presented with this type of deed, they are not used when property is bought and sold between unknown entities. You want to trust the person/s involved when using this type of deed! 

How to fill out a quitclaim deed. 

Prior to filling out a quitclaim deed, check your state laws so you’re fully aware of all legal requirements. Once the deed is transferred, it is irreversible and the grantor no longer owns the property. The basic process is the same in most states and will often require the following information and procedures.

  • The full legal names of the grantor and grantee. In other words, don’t use abbreviated versions of your names. 
  • The legal description of the property. This can be found on the deed used to transfer the property to the grantor. A legal description is a geographical description of the property, which doesn’t include the actual street address, though it does identify the exact location, county and property lines/boundaries. It can also be a good idea to include the actual street address of the property and the property number the appraiser uses. 
  • Signatures. State laws vary on this step in the process. For example, in Florida, the grantor must sign the deed in the presence of the notary public and two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign their names in the presence of the notary public in order for the deed to be official. In some states it’s also required that the grantee sign the document. 
  • The deed must then be filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county in which the property is located. Once this step is completed, the transfer of title is official.
Due to the risks that come with a quitclaim deed they are often used in the transfer or property between two trusting parties or when no money is exchanged. They can also be used in the case of a misspelling or to fix another discrepancy within a deed or divorce. If you find yourself in a position where a quitclaim is the right option, it’s a good idea to seek professional guidance to ensure you complete your state’s requirements.