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What is a Quitclaim Deed?

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A Quitclaim Deed works by allowing the owner of a property to quit their claim on it and pass interest to another individual. A good example of this is where a couple own a property and one of them gives up their interest and hands it to the other. In its simplest terms it is a piece of paper that transfers interest in land from one individual to another one. The person who is handing over their interest is referred to as the grantor and the person receiving it will be referred to as the grantee. This deed will sometimes be wrongly referred to as a ‘quick claim deed’.

How a Quitclaim Deed Works

This documentation means that the grantor has terminated any rights and claims on the property. It needs to be understood though that the grantor can only give up their rights and this does not mean that the ownership of other people are affected. In other words, if the property is owned by a group of people then the grantor will only be given up their interest. This also means that just because an individual has been made a grantee of the property it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the owner. The grantor can’t transfer any rights in the property that they don’t own.

A big drawback with a quitclaim deed is that there is no title covenant. In other words there are no guarantees about the property that the guarantor is handing over. They are only handing over their current interest in the property, and they don’t have to be an owner to do this. If there is a bad deal then the grantee could conceivably gain no interest at all from the property- it could even be owned by the banks due to failure to pay mortgage repayments. To make matters worse the grantor could later buy the property and the grantee would have no claim on this. This is due to the fact that the quitclaim deed only covers the interest in the land that the individual had at the time.

General Warranty Deed

A general warranty deed is often viewed as a superior arrangement than the Quitclaim deed. This is because it does come with a title covenant. With this agreement the grantor promises the following:

  • That they own the land
  • That the grantor will be able to back up the grantee’s rights should anyone else make a claim on the property
  • The promise that they grantor has the right to transfer the land
  • The promise that if there are any imperfections the grantor will do their utmost to rectify the situation.
  • The promise that the property does not come with any encumbrances such as a mortgage.
  • The promise that no other third party has any claim on the property

The general warranty deed does offer a lot more protection than a Quitclaim deed. There are many instances though where the latter might be the easiest solution to transferring interest in a property.

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Meet the Author

Anthony Carter currently resides in Fife, Scotland with his wife Lisa, and their three wonderful children. As a senior editor for various publications, if he's not reading and writing, you would find him photographing and traveling to some of the most far-flung locations around the world.

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