In California, a quitclaim deed is used to transfer ownership of real estate. The owner of the property--the grantor--signs the quitclaim in the presence of a notary and gives it to the new owner--the grantee--for recording in the county recorder's office. Once recorded, the transfer of ownership is complete. To adequately fill out the quitclaim deed, you need the names of the grantor and grantee, the property's legal description and assessor's parcel number, as well as some additional information from the county recorder's office regarding the documentary transfer tax.
Obtain a blank form of a quitclaim deed for use in California. Many of the county recorder websites have forms for downloading, such as the Recorder for the County of Ventura. A form could also be obtained from a real-estate agent or stationary store.
Fill in the identifying information for the grantee—the person to whom the property is being quitclaimed. This is for two purposes--to have the original quitclaim deed returned to the grantee and to have future property tax statements sent to the grantee.
Insert the assessor's parcel number near the top of the form where it has a blank space after "APN." This number can be found on a tax bill for the property or other deed, such as a grant deed, for the property.
Calculate the documentary transfer tax and insert the amount where indicated near the top of the form. The tax is based on the value of the property, and the formula for determining the tax can be obtained from any county recorder or the recorder's website. However, depending on the reason for recording the quitclaim deed, you may be exempt from the tax. A Notice of Exempt Transactions can be obtained from the recorder's office. If one of the exemptions applies to your transaction, insert the exemption on quitclaim deed where the tax would have been inserted.
Insert the name of the grantor at the end of the first line following the preprinted phrase: “FOR VALUABLE CONSIDERATION, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I (We)…” Insert the name of the grantee after the pre-printed phrase: "hereby remise, release and quitclaim to ..." Insert the name of the city and county in the spaces where indicated.
Fill in the legal description of the property in the blank area above the signature line for the grantee. Recheck the description after you insert it. If the legal description is not accurate, you will not be transferring all of the property and will have difficulty transferring it in the future.
In California, any time you want to record a document that changes ownership of real estate, such as a quitclaim deed, you must also submit a form called a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report to the county recorder. The form is available from the recorder’s office. If you don’t submit the form with the quitclaim deed, the recorder will still accept your quitclaim for recording; however, you will be charged an additional recording fee of $20.
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