Quitclaim Deeds: The Fastest Way to Transfer Your Property

Real estate deeds are complicated. There are statutory formalities that must be followed, or the deed is rendered invalid. Deeds must be recorded in the county official records to provide proper notice. Often, Documentary Stamps, often called “Doc Stamps,” must be calculated and paid to the state upon their recording – unless, of course, your situation qualifies for an exemption. Further, there are many different types of deeds, and each type of deed has its own unique purpose. A quitclaim deed, for example, is best used when you want to quickly transfer ownership of a property, often with no exchange of money.

What Is a Quitclaim Deed?

A quitclaim deed is the fastest way to transfer ownership interest in a real estate property, usually in a non-sale situation. It is a legal tool that quickly moves the “interest” (legal ownership) from one party to another. When a quitclaim deed is used to transfer the property from the “grantor” to the “grantee,” the grantor effectively washes his hands of any potential issues with the property.

To better understand quitclaims, it helps to compare them to general deeds. A general warranty deed has warranties and protections for the grantee, protecting the grantee if future problems arise. A quitclaim deed has no such protections, freeing the grantor from any future liability due to liens or other claims on the property. Quitclaim deeds do not certify that the property is free of encumbrances—they don’t even guarantee that the grantee legally owns the property. It merely transfers interest and frees the grantor of any future liability. In essence, a quitclaim deed relieves the grantor of any future liability on the property, so if a problem arises in the future, such as an ownership claim from another party, the grantor (former owner) is no longer liable.

Quitclaim Deeds and Your Mortgage

While a quitclaim deed frees the grantor from ownership liability, it does not exempt them from mortgage responsibility. If someone does a quitclaim on a property still tied to a mortgage loan, they’ll need to work with the lender to either transfer the mortgage responsibility or pay off the mortgage. (Many loans require full payment if the property is sold or transferred.)

Therefore, a quitclaim on a mortgaged property is rarely done.

Common Uses for a Quitclaim Deed

Each circumstance is different, but there are common situations where a quitclaim deed is the right choice. They are usually recommended only when the property’s history is well known, the grantor is familiar with the grantee and there is no transfer of money such as when transferring the title to a family member or moving the property into a trust. Quitclaim deeds are often used to remove a spouse from a title after a divorce. This often occurs when the court orders a quitclaim from one of the spouses.

Quitclaims can also be used to smooth over small details or inaccuracies in a current title. For example, quitclaim deeds can correct misspellings or title defects.

Overall, a quitclaim deed provides a reasonable solution if the grantor wants no liabilities or is unsure of the title’s status.

Don’t Do a Quitclaim Alone—Call the Messina Law Group!

Property owners should never do a quitclaim on their own. Several factors must be considered, and a trained professional must analyze the long-term impact of these documents.

The Messina Law Group can prepare your quitclaim deed or help you find the best way for you to transfer or acquire title to real property using the right type of deed for your situation. Whether you are disposing of or acquiring property, you can rely on our dedicated team of professionals to quickly and painlessly handle your real estate deed needs today.