How to Transfer Home Ownership
Transferring property owners comes with a laundry list of questions.
What are the types of deeds, and what’s the difference between a quitclaim deed and a general warranty deed anyway? Do you and the new owner plan to be joint tenants? Once you transfer home ownership, does your home insurance policy still protect you and the property? Should you just hire a real estate attorney to prepare the new deed for you?
Maybe, but don’t give up just yet.
The first step of property transfer is deciding who you’re transferring homeownership to, as this will determine your tenancy and which type of property deed you’ll need to fill out.
You may choose to completely transfer home ownership to someone else. But if you plan to co-own the property with the new owner, you can choose to be tenants in common or joint tenants. Tenants in common co-own property but with a bit of leniency. You can choose which percentage of the real estate you would like to own, and you can choose to sell your share at any time. Choosing joint tenancy with the new owner means you will each have equal ownership of your real property. This also ensures that the new owner will have the right to survivorship after you die, meaning that your portion of ownership will be transferred to the co-owner after your passing.
When transferring homeownership to family––whether you remain a co-owner or not––a quitclaim deed is easiest. Quitclaim deeds allow homeowners to transfer a property title without checking the chain of title or disclosing any encumbrances (like tax liens for unpaid property taxes). This makes the process easy, and you can fill out a quitclaim deed by yourself.
Still, these deeds offer little protection for a buyer (or grantee The grantee is left responsible for any of the property’s encumbrances and the grantor has no liability for title defects after transferring ownership interest. Because of this, quitclaim deeds are often used in interactions between people who know each other and in instances where the property is being transferred rather than purchased––perfect for transferring property to family.
Warranty deeds provide buyers with more legal protection, and a title search is often used to verify the quality of the title (assuming that the current homeowner does legally own the property). But when transferring property between family, quitclaim deeds will usually get the job done. Plus, if the grantee is looking for more protection, they can always seek out title insurance.
Whichever deed you choose will require the current owner’s name, the new owner ’s name, and the legal description of the property (as shown on the previous deed). After you fill out the deed, you will need to sign the deed in front of a notary public then bring the signed and notarized document to your county recorder’s office to be placed in the public records.
That’s it. You’ll need to transfer taxes and insurance, but after your new deed is publicly recorded, you have officially transferred ownership of your home.