What You Need to Know About Property Records

  • July 3, 2023
  • 3 min read

When it comes to property records, one common type of filing you’ll encounter is the quit claim deed. Before we delve into it, let’s clarify that it is not to be confused with a “quick” claim deed. Although it may offer a relatively swift way to transfer property ownership, it is called a quit claim deed.

A quit claim deed:

is a straightforward and expedient method of transferring real estate ownership. While it may seem enticing to use a quit claim deed for a property transaction, it’s essential to understand its potential drawbacks. Let’s examine an example form, bearing in mind that we are not attorneys and this is merely an illustration of property records. As certified title examiners, we possess knowledge about property records.

If you look at a quit claim deed, you’ll notice its simplicity. It typically consists of just one page and specifies who prepared it and the jurisdiction (state and county). The content is concise, stating that the grantor (the person transferring rights) conveys and quit claims all interests they have in the described real estate to the grantee. In other words, the grantor is relinquishing whatever interest they have in the property to the recipient. There is no additional language or wording beyond this statement.

In contrast, a warranty deed:

Which is a comprehensive deed for a property, includes a detailed enumeration of the rights the grantee will receive. These rights encompass various aspects, such as seizure and quiet possession. A warranty deed is essentially what it sounds like – a deed that comes with guarantees. If you receive a quit claim deed instead of a warranty deed, you are only obtaining whatever rights the grantor had, which may be limited or nonexistent.

Consider the scenario where anyone can issue a quit claim deed to you, even if they have no legitimate rights to the property. Legally, I could provide you with a quit claim deed for the Empire State Building, despite not having any ownership rights. By stating that I am transferring all interest I have in the property to you, it effectively means you receive nothing. Just because someone can create and sign a quit claim deed does not imply that you are receiving anything of value.

While quit claim deeds can be used to rectify certain property issues, such as correcting misspelled names or adding a spouse’s name, they do not provide any guarantees and should be approached with caution. If you encounter a quit claim deed in a chain of title and have doubts about what you will actually receive, seeking legal advice is crucial. Understand the reason behind the presence of the quit claim deed in the title record. Buying real estate typically requires a certain level of sophistication, but in some cases, sellers or investors may mislead you into thinking that a quit claim deed is sufficient. Merely filing it in land records does not increase its value; it is no more valid than the paper it’s written on.

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