A Quitclaim Deed is used to quickly and informally transfer real estate ownership interests from one party to another.
Document Last Modified: 8/3/2015
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State Specific Clauses
VA State Assist
Deeds are handled and recorded by the County Circuit Court in the county where the property being transferred is located. Each county has its own requirements, fees and cost of recording. It is important to contact the registrar for specific information.
The normal transfer of ownership process involves hiring a title company to run a full sixty year title history search, and double checking all possible liens, encumbrances, deed restrictions, judgments and anything else that might cause a "cloud on the title". For that matter, the title company verifies that the seller or "grantor" actually owns the property. The process typically takes about a month, incurs several thousand dollars in closing costs, and is required by potential mortgage lenders, along with title insurance.
A quitclaim deed, alternatively, simply involves a full or partial owner of real estate signing a document to "quit all claims" on the property, and passing their ownership interest on to another party (the "grantee"). The grantee receives no protections against prior liens or other potential clouds on the title.
So, quitclaim deeds are primary used in informal real estate transactions, between parties that know and trust one another. A real estate investor might quitclaim a property from their personal name into a limited liability company (LLC) for tax or asset protection purposes, or if they own several LLCs they may want to transfer it from one to another for some reason. When family members are passing along their ownership interest in a family property from one person to another, they may use a quitclaim deed rather than incurring several thousand dollars in traditional closing costs.
Which is really the point: the grantee and grantor can avoid the expensive and time-consuming process of a real estate settlement, and still legally transfer ownership from one party to another. It's much faster and cheaper... but comes with plenty of risks for the grantee if they don't know and trust the grantor.
DISCLAIMER: Real estate transactions are legally complex and it is recommended that anyone seeking to transfer real property speak with an attorney.
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