The state of Georgia allows you to transfer ownership of a property through a quit claim deed. Filing one is a relatively simple process of downloading, filling out and filing a short form. With a completed quit claim, the seller's ownership interest is transferred to the buyer. Filing the quit claim isn't mandatory for it to be legal, but it does provide the seller with protection that he might not otherwise have. Local governments in the state are set up to accommodate this type of do-it-yourself filing, so you won't usually need to hire a legal professional.
What is a Quit Claim Deed?
Ordinarily, when you sell real estate to a buyer for the property's fair market value, the buyer will insist that you sign a warranty deed. This deed transfers ownership of the property just like a quit claim does, with one important difference: you're making a promise that you own the property and there are no title defects that could reduce the property's value. Quit claim deeds contain no such promises, to the extent that you could even attempt to transfer real estate that you do not own. As such, no one paying a fair price for real estate will generally accept a quit claim. It is commonly used in family transactions, such as transferring ownership to an ex-spouse as part of a divorce settlement. If you transfer a property by quit claim deed, it goes with all mortgages and liens attached, including judgment liens and property tax liens. Because a quit claim deed doesn't transfer clear title, and because there's no sale of property or real money changing hands, the transfer goes forward without a title company and without a closing.
Blank Deeds for DIY Filing
It's best to obtain a blank deed from your city or county clerk of the court, because you can be sure the form template is approved and contains all the correct legal language. You can download one from the county's website, and you can either fill it out electronically or print it and complete it manually. You should also request a current copy of the property's legal deed of record. You'll need that as you complete the property description on the quit claim.
Signature Must be Witnessed and Notarized
Once you've received the document template, fill it out. Hall County's form is a PDF file you can fill out online and then print, for example, while Cobb County's must be printed first and then completed on paper. After you fill out the quit claim, have the signature – or the signature of the seller or grantor, if it's not you – witnessed and notarized. The clerk's office will not accept the form if the grantor's signature is not notarized.
Wrapping Up the Transfer
Take the notarized deed to the clerk of the court representing the city or county where the property is located. If you live in a place other than where the property is located, you will have to travel to the appropriate county clerk's office. The clerk's office will tell you what is due upon filing; this amount will include actual filing fees as well as transfer taxes, if you are required to pay them. If you are charging for the property, you will have to file transfer tax forms along with the filing of your quit claim in Georgia. The clerk of the court will inform you if you need to pay transfer tax and if so, what amount you need to pay. Recording the deed with the county puts other people on notice that the property has been transferred and that the owner is now the transferee.