Property deeds are legal documents used to transfer ownership of a property from one entity to another. They are necessary if you want to add or subtract a name from the property title, create a living trust, buy property or give your house to a family member.
There are different types of deed transfers, each with advantages and disadvantages. A quitclaim deed, for instance, lets one party "quit" any interest in the property. They are used in divorces, when one spouse transfers any legal claim or interest in a house to the other spouse. This type of deed has no guarantees.
A grant deed provides guarantees in the form of covenants, such as the covenant of quiet enjoyment, which protects the new owner from other claims upon the property.
Conduct a title search by contacting your county assessor's office. Give them the address and name of the current owner and they will give you an assessor's parcel number (APN) and document number. Contact your county recorder's office and give them both numbers, then request a copy of the current deed or title.
If there is no question as to who owns the property, file a grant deed, also called a warranty deed. If there are doubts about ownership, file a quitclaim deed. Nolo.com states that a quitclaim deed is commonly used when a title search "reveals that a previous owner or some other individual, like the heir of a previous owner, may have some claim to the property."
Download the correct form off of the Internet or purchase one from an office supply store. Fill it out properly, taking special care with the property description. Add yourself as the grantee and the person giving or selling you the property as the grantor.
Head to a notary public with the grantor to notarize the deed. Have him sign while the notary witnesses it, verifies that the signature is valid and stamps it.
Go to the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located and give it to the recorder. For a small fee, she will transcribe the deed, officially making it part of public record.
- Legal requirements vary from county to county; you might need additional paperwork, such as a Real Estate Transfer Declaration form. You might need additional people to witness the signing of the deed.
- You might be able to do your title search online, depending on the county. Watch your spelling when you are filling out the form and make sure you have the correct address. Notary public services can be found at post offices, banks, insurance agencies or public libraries.