Real estate is one of the most difficult types of property to transfer, at least in a legal sense. With a car, you only need to sign over the title. With jewelry, you can just hand it to a person. Things get a little tricky with a house due to the sheer value and legality of everything involved. That’s where quitclaim deeds come into play.
What Is A Quitclaim Deed?
It’s hard to “gift” a house, but it can be done using a quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds are used to transfer real estate property to another person without any guarantee or warranty. That means that using one is generally done between people who already know each other well—such as spouses or parents to a child.
When Should A Quit Claim Deed Be Filed?
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.
How Do You File A Quit Claim 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:
- Research quitclaim deed requirements in your state- Each state will have unique requirements about who can file a quitclaim and why. If you are good to go and meet the requirements, it’s time to move to the next step.
- Obtain the proper form for filing the quitclaim deed- 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.
- 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.
- Fill out the 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.
- Once it’s notarized, file the form at your county’s office- The office will have a processing fee associated with it, but they will give you the deed you want.
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.