Quitclaim Deeds

Quitclaim Deeds

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When a mortgage is in danger of becoming an unsustainable burden a homeowner’s finances,  they may sign a quitclaim deed that will transfer some ownership interest in their home to another party. Quitclaim deeds are most often used when a home is transferred between family members or to cure a defect on the title, such as a name that has been misspelled, or  when an owner gets married and wants to add a spouse’s name to the title, or when the owners divorce and one spouse’s name is removed from the title. Sometimes, they may be used to transfer ownership of a home from an individual to a sole proprietorship or corporation.

Common facts needed to understand a quitclaim deed:

  1. The quitclaim deed contains no warranties of title or ownership. If the grantor owns nothing, the grantee receives nothing.
  2. When purchasing a home, the buyer should receive a general warranty deed, not a quitclaim deed. Title insurance is favorable and often required by mortgage lenders.
  3. A real estate purchaser under a quitclaim deed is in many legal situations considered to be on notice that the title has defects.  It is recommended that an experienced professional undertake a title examination based upon a title search and render a title opinion prior to completing the purchase.
  4. If one has borrowed money under a real estate mortgage, a quitclaim or other deed to a third party does not release one’s liability for the mortgage debt. The lender may release a debt, but a borrower can’t avoid payment by unilaterally shifting that debt to a third person.
  5. Subsequent ownership by the grantor after the delivery of a quitclaim deed is not impacted or transferred by the quitclaim deed.
  6. Recording any deed in the public records at a local courthouse or recorder’s office, as determined by state law, only gives public notice of one’s claim of ownership. A deed does not guarantee actual title or ownership.
  7. If two or more individuals are co-owners of real estate, a quitclaim deed by one owner only transfers at best that one owner’s ownership rights. If the quitclaim deed requires the signature of all co-owners, the deed is invalid unless all co-owners have signed it and the deed is then delivered to the grantee. However, if the quitclaim deed allows one co-owner to sign it and claims to transfers the entire property to a grantee who takes physical possession of the property, then the deed may create an adverse possession ownership claim to the entire property.
  8. If one individual owns real estate and desires to add a co-owner such as a spouse, a quitclaim deed might be used. It’s in the best interest to contact an attorney before doing so, in order to curtail any taxation or inheritance issues.
  9. Call the best Title Insurance Agency because a title examination is necessary.
  10. There can’t be a reversal in a quitclaim unless the original owner proves that the quitclaim deed was signed under duress in a court.

As efficient as quitclaim deeds are in transferring real estate ownership from one person to another, they suffer from certain shortcomings that make them inappropriate for all but their intended purposes. Whereas they transfer title to a property, nothing more and nothing less, purchasers demand transfer assurances that quitclaim deeds can’t provide. They want warranties that guarantee “clear title” or lack of ownership encumbrances in the property. In such transactions, sellers transfer their real properties with general or special warranty deeds that offer those assurances to their buyers.

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