Can You Sell a House with a Quit Claim Deed? Top 10 Must Know Tips with Q&A’s

Not too long ago, I was approached by a homeowner named Mr. Johnson, who found himself tangled in the complexities of real estate transactions. His eldest daughter was about to spread her wings and fly across the country for her first job post-college. He wanted to gift her the modest, family home that held so many of their cherished memories. The thought was touching, but the process was far from straightforward.

Mr. Johnson reached out to me as a local real estate house buyer, looking for assistance with his situation. That’s when I introduced him to the concept of quitclaim deeds. This seemed like the ideal solution for his predicament – a fast, straightforward way to transfer property.

Are you finding yourself in a similar situation? Perhaps you’re asking, “Can I sell a house with a quit claim deed?” If so, you’ve arrived at the right place. Whether you’re exploring property transfer to a family member, managing a property sale post-divorce, or dealing with any other unique homeowner circumstances, I’m here to guide you. Let’s unravel the intricacies of selling a house with a quitclaim deed together. So, let’s dive in.

Quit Claim Deeds

Understanding Quitclaim Deeds

man hand going over a quitclaim deed on a table or desk

A quitclaim deed is one among many real estate legal documents but one that particularly allows you to transfer your interest in a property to another person. It doesn’t guarantee that the property is free of liens or other ownership claims; it only transfers the rights that the grantor – the person selling or gifting the property – has. In the words of Roger Bernhardt, a law professor at Golden Gate University says…

“a quitclaim deed is a quick way to transfer property”

Roger Bernhardt

Now, how does a quitclaim deed work? Here’s the process in a nutshell:

The grantor signs the deed, effectively giving up any claim to the property. This deed is then notarized and recorded in the county where the property is located.

The key here is that the grantor doesn’t make any promises about the property’s title – they only transfer whatever interest they may have.

A quitclaim deed might sound like a very specific tool, but you’d be surprised by how often it’s used.

How quitclaim deeds work

The most common scenarios typically involve transactions between people who trust each other, like family members or divorcing spouses.

It can help to streamline the process when there’s no need for the formalities of traditional sales. For instance, parents might use a quitclaim deed to transfer home ownership to a child, or a person might use one to remove an ex-spouse from a property title after a divorce.

Remember, while quitclaim deeds can be a powerful tool in the right situation, it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice before proceeding. As our legal expert states, “Quitclaim deeds are part of any property owner’s toolkit, but only when used right and in the right circumstances.”

Is a Quit Claim Deed Considered a Sale?

The answer can be both yes and no, depending on the specific situation.

Technically speaking, a quitclaim deed is not a sale in the traditional sense. A traditional sale involves a warranty deed, which guarantees the grantor owns the property and is free to sell it. In contrast, a quitclaim deed only transfers whatever ownership interest the grantor may have, without making any guarantees. This means if the grantor doesn’t own the property, the person receiving it gets nothing.

Now, where it gets interesting is when a quitclaim deed is used in a transaction that involves the exchange of money. For instance, if I were to use a quitclaim deed to transfer a property to you, and you pay me for that, then it does mimic the function of a sale.

However, the implications of using a quitclaim deed as a sale can be complex. If there’s a mortgage on the property, the original owner (the grantor) is still responsible for it, even after the deed is transferred, unless the mortgage company agrees to a transfer of liability. Moreover, without the guarantees that come with a warranty deed, the buyer takes on a greater risk.

Professor David Reiss from Brooklyn Law School warns,

“Quitclaim deeds are best for low-stakes, low-risk transactions between people who know each other.”

Professor David Reiss from Brooklyn Law School

He advises, as I do, to think twice about accepting a quitclaim deed from someone you don’t know or trust, because it lacks the protections of a warranty deed.

In the end, understanding the nuances and implications of a quitclaim deed can save you from potential complications down the line.

Difference between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed?

You’re likely to encounter a variety of deeds – each with its own unique purpose and application. Two of the most common are warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. Though they may seem similar on the surface, they serve different functions and offer different levels of protection.

What is a warranty deed?

A warranty deed is like a protective shield. When a property is transferred using a warranty deed, the seller (grantor) guarantees that they hold a clear title to the property, free from any liens, encumbrances, or ownership disputes. This means that if any issue arises regarding the property’s title after the transaction, the seller is legally obligated to address and resolve it.

The difference with a quitclaim deed

On the other hand, a quitclaim deed is more like a jump into the unknown – it carries no warranties or guarantees about the property’s title. When you receive a property through a quitclaim deed, you’re only receiving whatever ownership interest the seller has (if any). There’s no protection against any future claims on the property from third parties. If an issue arises after the transfer, you’re on your own.

In essence, the major difference between a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed lies in the level of protection they offer. A warranty deed offers the buyer a safety net, ensuring that the title they receive is clean and unquestionable. A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, offers no such assurance, making it a riskier option.

Understanding these differences is crucial in making informed decisions in your real estate journey. It’s always a good idea to consult with a real estate professional or legal expert when deciding which deed is appropriate for your specific situation.

Quitclaim Deeds in Utah

In Utah, quitclaim deeds are commonly used to transfer property between family members, remove or add a spouse to a property deed after marriage or divorce, or in other situations where the property isn’t being sold outright. As with quitclaim deeds elsewhere, the person receiving the property receives no guarantees about the title.

Loopholes in Utah

Now, these aren’t necessarily “loopholes” in the sneaky sense of the word, but rather, unique aspects of Utah law that could impact your quitclaim deed transaction.

One aspect is that while a quitclaim deed transfers property ownership, it does not absolve the grantor of financial responsibility related to the property. If there is a mortgage on the property, the lender can still hold the original borrower accountable for the debt, even after a quitclaim deed has been filed.

Additionally, there’s a concept in Utah law known as “adverse possession,” where someone could potentially gain legal ownership of a property by occupying it without the owner’s permission and meeting certain conditions over a period of time. While this is rare and there are many legal requirements, it’s worth noting that a quitclaim deed could potentially create an avenue for an adverse possession claim if not properly managed.

A Close Call with Adverse Possession

A Close Call with Adverse Possession

In my years as a local Utah real estate investor, I’ve had the opportunity to assist many clients through complex property transactions. One situation in particular stands out. It involved a wonderful couple, the Johnsons, and their lovely property in Utah.

The Johnsons were planning to move abroad for a few years for work and wanted their daughter, Sarah, to stay in their home while they were gone. To simplify matters, they decided to use a quitclaim deed to transfer the property to Sarah. It seemed like a straightforward plan at first glance.

When they approached me with their plan, something rang alarm bells in my mind. I remembered a unique aspect of Utah law, a concept known as “adverse possession.” Adverse possession is a legal principle where someone can gain ownership of a property by living in it, without the owner’s permission, for a specific period of time, among other conditions.

Under normal circumstances, parents wouldn’t need to worry about their child claiming adverse possession. But what if Sarah got married during her parents’ time abroad and her spouse started living in the property? What if they remained in the property for several years, meeting the conditions for adverse possession?

I brought up these concerns with the Johnsons. They were surprised, having never considered this possibility. To safeguard their interests, we decided to explore other legal mechanisms that could allow Sarah to live in the property without risk of an adverse possession claim.

In the end, they opted to create a lease agreement for Sarah instead of transferring the property through a quitclaim deed. This ensured their daughter had a place to stay while they were abroad, without risking unintended consequences.

This story just goes to show the importance of understanding the specifics of real estate laws in your state, and the value of consulting with a professional. Each situation is unique, and having someone to guide you through the process can help prevent potential disasters and ensure a smooth transaction.

FAQ’s: All You Need to Know About Quitclaim Deeds

Can you use Legalzoom deed transfer?

Yes, you can use online services like LegalZoom to help with the process of creating and filing a quitclaim deed. Or you can reach out to me here and I will be happy to guide you through the process and make it simple.

What happens when you have quit claim deed, but still on mortgage?

If you transfer a property via a quitclaim deed but your name remains on the mortgage, you are still responsible for the mortgage payments. The lender can hold you liable for the debt, even if you no longer own the property.

Can someone sell a house if your name is on the deed?

If your name is on the quitclaim deed, you have an ownership interest in the property. If another person wants to sell the house, they would generally need your consent and you would need to sign off on the transaction.

Can you do a quit claim deed with a mortgage?

Yes, you can use a quitclaim deed to transfer a property that has a mortgage. However, the original borrower is still responsible for the mortgage, even after the deed has been transferred, unless the lender agrees to a liability transfer.

Can my parents quit claim their house to me?

Yes, your parents can use a quitclaim deed to transfer their house to you. This is often done in situations such as estate planning or transferring property between family members. Keep in mind, though, that there might be tax implications, so consulting with a tax advisor or attorney is recommended.

Do I own the house after a quitclaim if the house is paid off?

Yes, if you are the grantee on a quitclaim deed and the house is completely paid off, you would own the house outright. The quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership interest the grantor (the person who signed the deed to you) had in the property to you. If the house was fully paid off, and there are no liens or encumbrances, you would own the house free and clear. However, keep in mind that a quitclaim deed does not guarantee a clear title, so it’s always wise to conduct a title search to ensure there are no hidden issues.

Do I need a warranty deed if I did a quitclaim?

A warranty deed would not be necessary in this situation if the house is completely paid off and has been transferred to you using a quitclaim deed. The primary reason is that a warranty deed is typically used when a property is being sold and there is a need to guarantee to the buyer that the title is free and clear of any liens or encumbrances.

In the case of a quitclaim deed, you’re essentially accepting the property “as is” without any warranties on the title. If the property was already paid off and you’re confident that there are no hidden liens or title issues, the quitclaim deed would suffice for the transfer of ownership.

However, if you’re not certain about the status of the title, or if you want additional assurance, you may consider obtaining a warranty deed. The warranty deed would require the grantor to address any title issues that come up after the transfer.

Wrapping it up

As a trusted local house buyer with years of experience, I am here to help. Whether you’re looking to sell your house “as is” in any condition, or you need assistance understanding the intricacies of quitclaim deeds, I’m just a call away. Click here to contact me. With my expertise, we can unravel the complexities together, ensuring you make the best decisions regarding your property.

Remember, every property and situation is unique, and I am committed to providing personalized solutions to meet your needs. Don’t hesitate to book a free call with me. Let’s take this journey together, making your real estate transactions as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Gary Parker

I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring.

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