How to Transfer Ownership of Land in North Carolina

Property deed
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A deed is a legal instrument that evidences legal ownership of a parcel of real property, which includes land and any buildings on the land. To transfer ownership of land in North Carolina, the owner must execute and file a new deed with the register of deeds for the North Carolina county where the property is located.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

To transfer land in North Carolina, prepare or have prepared the appropriate form of deed, then record the deed at the register of deeds for the county where the land is situated.

Types of Deeds in North Carolina

Before transferring title of any real estate, you should decide what kind of deed transfer you would like to use. North Carolina law recognizes two kinds: quitclaim and warranty. A quitclaim deed transfers real property without any guarantee of clear title, while a warranty deed guarantees that the property will be transferred without any encumbrances or competing claims to the property. For example, if you're selling property to a third party for value, title work will need to be done and any encumbrances like mortgages, tax liens or judgment liens will need to be paid in full so you can give a warranty deed. If you're transferring title quickly to a relative or friend for little or no money, a quitclaim deed will get you there, but the person receiving the property takes it as it is, with all the liens and encumbrances, and takes whatever ownership you had in the property.

Preparing the Deed

You can find examples of deeds online. The county registers of deeds may or may not provide deed forms to the public. Some county governments, such as Davidson County, provide templates for warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds. If your county government does not provide a deed, you may purchase one from a local stationery store or download one from the Internet. You could even prepare your own, although you'll need to make sure the language is correct. You can also pay an attorney to prepare one for you.

Information to Include on the Deed

The deed should include the North Carolina excise tax and parcel identification number for the property being transferred. Provide your mailing address, name and a brief description for the recording index. Provide the current date, the name of the grantor (seller) and grantee (buyer). Provide the name of the town and county where the property is located. Indicate the Deed Book and page where the property and map of the property is recorded.

Executing the Deed

You'll need to execute your deed in front of a notary public, which means you shouldn't sign it until you're before the notary. Many banks in North Carolina provide complimentary notary service; if you're using a mortgage broker and a realtor for the transaction, they will provide one for you.

Recording the Deed

Once the deed is executed, you'll need to record it with the register of deeds for the county in which the property is located. There will be a filing fee. Recording the deed puts the world on notice of the new ownership, so recordation is a crucial component of the property transfer process.

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