What Is A Quit Claim Deed? Everything You Need to Know

What Is A Quit Claim Deed
by John Carlucci - December 7, 2022

A quitclaim deed is a legal document that transfers property rights from one person, called the grantor, to another person, the grantee. This type of deed conveys whatever interest the grantor currently holds in the property. However, it does not offer any warranties or promises about the title or condition of the property. The document must include the two parties' identities, the property description, and a statement stating that all rights have been transferred. 

Type of Deeds

There are several different types of deeds, each offering different levels of protection for buyers and sellers. The three most common types of deeds are the quitclaim deed, general warranty deed, and special warranty deed.

General Warranty Deed

This type of deed provides buyers with the highest level of protection and guarantees that the seller holds a clear title to the property. The deed contains both express and implied warranties, meaning that the seller warrants that they have good and marketable title to the property, free from any encumbrances or other claims. A general warranty deed also promises that the seller will take responsibility for any issues with the title in the future. This type of deed ensures buyers can purchase real estate without worry, making it the preferred choice for most real estate transactions.

Quitclaim Deed

A Quitclaim Deed is often used when the grantor sells property acquired through foreclosure or when the property is auctioned off to pay tax debts. This type of deed transfers only the ownership rights that the grantor has in the property and does not contain any warranties from the seller. Quitclaims are also an important part of estate planning, allowing owners to transfer their interests in a property to another party. 

Special Warranty Deed

A special warranty deed is a form of real estate deed that can be used to transfer property ownership between two parties. It provides assurance that the seller of the property owns it and has not faced any title challenges or liens on the property. When a special warranty deed is used, the seller (grantor) only guarantees against claims that arose during their ownership period; they are not responsible for any issues arising before they own it. The buyer (grantee) then has protection from any title claims brought against them by the former owner or anyone claiming through them. This makes it a safer way to purchase a property than some other forms-.

Typical Applications of Quit Claim Deeds

They are most commonly used when transferring property between family members, such as from a parent to an adult child, between siblings, or when a married couple adds their spouse to the title. Quitclaim deeds are also used for removing title defects or “clouds” that arise when a title search reveals the property has an unclear owner. In addition, they can be used in cases where mistakes were made during the initial transaction and need to be quickly corrected. Finally, they are also used in divorce proceedings to transfer one spouse's property interest to the other.

How Does A Quitclaim Deed Work?

The process is simple and complete, with both parties signing the deed before witnesses. Once signed and delivered, the new owner takes possession of whatever interest the current owner had in the property at that time. However, it's important to note that there are no guarantees made by the seller regarding the title or condition of the property when using a quitclaim deed.

FAQs:

1. What are the disadvantages of Quitclaim deeds?

The main disadvantage of a quitclaim deed is that it does not offer any guarantees or warranties about the property title, making it a risky transaction for buyers and grantees. If the grantor misrepresented their property ownership, they could not be held legally accountable. Additionally, these quitclaim deeds may not be suitable for all situations - such as transfers between two unfamiliar parties - as they offer no protection against potential fraud. 

2. What are the circumstances in which I might use a Quitclaim deed?

It is commonly used in situations such as transferring property between family members, adding a spouse to the title of a home, or removing title defects or “clouds”. If you need to quickly and easily transfer titles to real estate, consider using a quitclaim deed.

3. What is the validity period for a Quitclaim deed?

The deed does not expire and remains valid indefinitely. It should be filed with the appropriate government agency to become public record. In most states, there is a two-year period following the filing date during which the validity of the quitclaim deed can be contested. After this two-year period has passed, any claims against the deed are barred by law.

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