What Documents Are Needed to Transfer a Title to a House?

By Phil Altshuler

The only document you require to transfer a title to a house is a deed. The correct type of deed for you to use depends on the reason for the transfer. You can perform a transfer between you and your spouse with a quitclaim deed. You can transfer property between buyer and seller with a grant deed or a warranty deed. A few other types of deeds are useful under special circumstances.

Grant Deed

A grant deed states that you grant any rights you have in the property in question. It states that you have a right to sell the property, and that any liens or encumbrances affecting the title are called out on the deed. This is the most common type of deed used in the Western portion of the United States to transfer property. Some states consider a warranty deed and a grant deed to be identical. This is true in any state, if you purchase a property with title insurance.

Warranty Deed

Most areas of the United States use a warranty deed to transfer property. It conveys the same rights as a grant deed and it guarantees that you, as the warrantor, have the obligation to correct any defects in title. This clause is often difficult to enforce. However, this is not relevant if you purchase title insurance on the property.

Quitclaim Deed

A quitclaim deed is useful in divorce situations and in cases where an equity position in the property is unknown. You can also use it to clear defects in title. It states that you convey any interest you have in the property, if you have any interest. It does not guarantee that you do have an interest. It offers little or no protection to a buyer.

Other Types of Deeds

A fiduciary deed transfers property if you are trustee, executor or guardian acting in an official capacity. You use a trust deed to transfer property to a trustee as security on a mortgage. In case of a foreclosure, the trustee has the power to sell the property. A bargain and sale deed implies that you have title, but does not state that the property is free of encumbrances or defects. You usually use this deed for a tax sale or a foreclosure. You use a reconveyance deed when you have paid off your mortgage to transfer title from the trustee to the trustor.


It is possible to obtain a blank deed from an office supply store or from the Internet, but transferring a property is not something you should do without considerable thought. It is advisable to use an escrow company to transfer a title to property. The escrow company will ensure you that you fill out the deed correctly and use the correct documentation. They will also arrange for title insurance through a reputable title company and will send copies to the county recorder's office for recording.

About the Author

Phil Altshuler has written award-winning ad copy and sales-training literature since 1965. He is an expert in conventional and sub-prime loans, bankruptcy, mortgage loan modifications and credit. Altshuler was a licensed mortgage broker in California and Arizona, as well as a licensed electrical contractor. He has a Bachelor of Science in electronic engineering from California Polytechnic State University.