Real estate is one of the most difficult types of property to transfer, at least in a legal sense. That’s where quitclaim deeds come into play. It’s hard to gift a house, but it can be done using a quitclaim deed.
If you find yourself in a situation where a quitclaim deed is warranted, chances are that you will be advised to file one by an attorney. If you need to file it yourself, don’t worry. It’s possible to do it in most states.
With that said, each state has its own unique set of rules regarding quitclaim deeds. So while we can give you the general process, you will need to get the specific details from your local real estate law offices. Here’s what you will need to do:
1. Research the Requirements
Each state will have unique requirements and laws about who can file a quitclaim and why. You'll need to start by researching the quitclaim deed requirements in your state If you are good to go and meet the requirements, it’s time to move to the next step.
2. Obtain a Quitclaim Deed Form
Most city courts and online sites will have the proper paperwork you need to write the quitclaim deed. Depending on your state, you may also have to show your ID and fill out additional forms.
3. Get a Legal-friendly Description of Your Home
This will include things like your home address, the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, and any other details required by your state board. If you aren’t sure what will be necessary for the description, ask your real estate attorney.
4. Fill Out the Quitclaim Deed Form
The forms and paperwork can be filled out by yourself or by your attorney for a small fee. In most areas, you will need to fill them out in front of a notary and several witnesses. Depending on where you live, you may also need to get the forms notarized to be fully legal.
5. Notarize and File the Form
The final step is to get the form notarized and file it. All of the grantors will need to be present during the notarization process. Once you've notarized the form, you will file it at your county’s office.
Quitclaim deeds are filed at the local county clerk's office where the real estate is located. The office will have a processing fee associated with it, which you can typically pay in cash or by check. Once you've filed the quitclaim deed form and paid the associated fee, you'll be able to receive the new deed.
A quitclaim deed should be filed in three event situations:
- You want to transfer the property to a loved one, no guarantees made: A case like this is different from a typical home sale. Basically, this is you saying, “Here you go. No guarantees!” Quitclaim deeds are also used in divorces for this reason.
- You need to fix a mistake in a past deed: If your title is dirty because of a mistake, a quitclaim deed can be filed to make it right. This can include ownership mistakes, mistakes about the home description, or even a mistake when it comes to the deed’s date.
- You need to clarify how the house is owned: This is used to establish tenancy rules as well as the rules about who owns the house. For example, this is often used between spouses to ensure that when one partner dies, the surviving spouse will have a right to live there afterward.
Quitclaim deeds are essentially the “bandaids” and quick fixes that homeowners need when a regular real estate transaction will take too long. Unlike typical real estate transactions that involve a title company and realtors, these transfers are made without any guarantees and often don’t involve money being handed over.
Because these transaction deeds are legally dicey, it’s best to have an attorney advise you on whether or not you should use them. If you are in a situation where a quitclaim deed makes sense, then you can get to filing the proper paperwork.
Every single state has its own rules and regulations dealing with quitclaim deeds. Filing a quitclaim deed can be tedious, time-consuming, and even pricey. To make sure that you get the results you need, check with your local courts to find out what paperwork you need, what legal descriptions you need to have, and the notarization process.