Table of Contents:
- How to Transfer Property in Pennsylvania
- How to Transfer Property in Michigan
- How to Transfer Property in Kentucky
In Pennsylvania, you can transfer property you own to another person or entity in several ways. Each conveyance method has its own deed form, which may vary from county to county.
A quitclaim deed, as the title implies, allows you to transfer whatever claim you have in a specific property to another party or entity. When you transfer property with a quitclaim deed, you aren't making any kind of guarantee or warranty that you actually hold title to the property or that the title is unencumbered – only that you're transferring to the other party whatever claim you may have.
Most property owners use a quitclaim deed to transfer property to a relative. Parents may transfer a house or farm to a son, for example, or a husband may transfer his interest in jointly-held property to his wife as part of a divorce agreement. In many cases, transfers through quitclaim do not involve a sale.
A similar deed instrument occasionally used in Pennsylvania is the Special or Limited Warranty Deed. When the conveying party quits claim to the property but offers some limited guarantee – that affirms the acreage of the property, for instance – real estate professionals sometimes use a Special Warranty Deed instead of a Quitclaim deed.
A trust deed shares the name "deed" with the other kinds of deeds used in Pennsylvania, but is essentially a mortgage instrument, transferring title from the seller to the buyer's trustee, rather than to the buyer. The trustee holds the deed as security for the lender until the mortgage has been paid off and then transfers interest to the buyer. In the event the buyer defaults, the trustee transfers the property interest to the mortgage holder instead or, alternatively, may sell the property at a foreclosure auction, then pay the mortgage holder the proceeds.
Warranty deeds are the most frequently used property conveyance instrument in Pennsylvania. The deed guarantees that the title being conveyed is free of encumbrances. The warranty deed further guarantees that in the event of any dispute about title, the seller or the seller's representative – usually a title company in Pennsylvania – will defend the buyer's title. If the title cannot be defended, the title company must convey the purchase price back to the buyer.
How to Proceed
Detailing the conveyance process for any of these deeds goes beyond the scope of this article, but here are some general guidelines:
- Consider getting professional assistance. Each Pennsylvania county has its own deed forms. Within a single category, there may be sub-types, each with its own form. One of Nolo's websites, Real Estate Lawyers, lists 13 different kinds of Warranty Deeds used in Pennsylvania. Using a real estate lawyer when buying or selling property in Pennsylvania can save you time and provide a guaranteed result.
- Get help from the title company guaranteeing the deed to avoid the expense of a lawyer. This can provide many, but not all, of the benefits of legal assistance.
- Use a deed form provided by one of several companies that offer these online. Deeds.com, for example, provides individual forms for every Pennsylvania county and deed type. When you enter the Deeds.com website and specify the county and form you need, you'll get a lot of valuable information, including the deed form itself, a line-by-line guide to the form, a completed example of the deed you've chosen, realty transfer tax forms and an accompanying guide to the transfer tax. Most of Deed.com's forms cost less than $20.
Draft a contract evidencing transfer of the property. Include the names of the party transferring the land, called the transferor, and the party receiving the land, called the transferee. Include any payment received for transferring the property, as well as the terms of payment. Include any special terms of the transfer.
Draft the deed transferring the land. All county register of deeds offices provide a form for both a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed. If the transferor has included covenants of title, use the warranty deed form. If the transferor is merely conveying whatever interest he has in the property, without any guarantees of actual ownership, use the quitclaim deed form. Provide the name and address of both the transferor and transferee, as well as the date. Provide a description of the property being transferred, using a metes-and-bounds description. Have both parties sign the deed in the presence of a notary.
Draft a Property Transfer Affidavit. A Property Transfer Affidavit form is available for download from the Michigan Department of Treasury website. Provide the address of the property, the name and address of both the transferor and transferee and the price paid for the property. Check any appropriate exemptions and sign the form.
File the deed and Property Transfer Affidavit with the county register of deeds. The fee for filing a deed varies by Michigan county, but ranges from $15 to $25, as of 2011. Most register of deeds offices charge an initial fee, typically more than $10, as well as a per-page fee of $2.
Obtain the appropriate deed transfer instrument, either a quitclaim deed or general warranty deed. Forms for these deeds can be purchased in most office supply stores or found at the county recorder's office or a law library.
Complete the transfer document. Include the name of the grantor or person who is transferring the property, the name of the grantee or person receiving the property, the amount of consideration or purchase money, the addresses of both parties, the legal description of the property being transferred and the physical address of said property.
Take the completed transfer deed to a licensed Kentucky notary public. Have the notary public verify each party's identification with at least one form of government-issued identification card, such as a driver's license, social security card or passport. Sign the transfer instrument with the notary as a witness and have her stamp her seal on it.
File the completed, notarized transfer document with the county recorder's office in the same Kentucky county in which the property is located. Pay the appropriate filing fee and get a copy of receipt from the recorder's office. Make three copies of the instrument: one for each party and one as a back-up or file copy.