The title to real property can be changed from one person to another by using a legal form called a deed. Different types of deeds provide the buyer and seller with different levels of protection against future title problems. But which Colorado deed is right for you—a quitclaim deed, a warranty deed, or a special type of deed for a specific transaction? A quitclaim deed may be all you need.
Just what does a quitclaim deed do?
A quitclaim deed (not “quick claim” or “quit claim”) is what it sounds like—a deed used to “quit” or end someone’s claim on the property. Quitclaim deeds are versatile and can be used to add or remove someone from the title, change ownership from joint tenants to tenants in common, or clear up problems with the title. Quitclaim deeds are frequently used for title transfers within a family.
A quitclaim deed is used to transfer a person’s interest in the property, but it doesn’t guarantee that the person who signs the deed actually has an interest in the property, nor does the deed specify how much of the property that person owns. Quitclaim deeds may be risky for the buyer, since these deeds provide no guarantee that the seller has good title or even that the seller owns the property. If a buyer uses a quitclaim deed and doesn’t do a title search, that buyer could wind up buying problems along with the property. Using a quitclaim deed means the buyer may have little recourse if problems arise after the sale.
So when might you use a quitclaim deed?
Tammy will keep the house after her divorce from Jason and needs to remove his name from the deed. Kevin’s middle name was misspelled on the deed to the cabin his grandfather left him. Diane needs to change from her maiden name to her married name on the land she owns with her brother. All of these situations involve changing the ownership of a piece of real property.
Should I use a warranty deed instead?
Warranty deeds are different from quitclaim deeds in that the seller “warrants” or guarantees that he or she actually does have a claim on the property and that the title is free of anything that could cause problems with the ownership of the property. Stay tuned for Part II, “Understanding Warranty Deeds.”
Once you’re comfortable with your choice of quitclaim vs. warranty deed, you must then determine which form to use. Bradford has more than 20 different deed forms. To help narrow your choice, we will be posting a blog on joint tenancy vs. tenants in common. If the property is part of an estate or owned by a company or corporation, look for Bradford’s blog on “Deeds for Special Situations, coming soon.”
For more information about quitclaim deeds, check out Bradford Publishing’s guide, “Understanding Colorado Quitclaim and Warranty Deeds.”