To transfer property from one party to another, a deed is needed to successfully make the transaction. A deed is a legal document that transfers an individual’s interest in a property to another person. A quit claim is a type of deed and can transfer property in a faster, but higher-risk manner. In the state of Georgia, quit claims are often used in real estate transactions and are often performed between trusted individuals. While they may not suit every situation, quit claims have several advantages that warrant your consideration when looking into a deed.
What Exactly is a Quit Claim?
As previously mentioned, a deed is a legal document that allows for the transfer of the title of a property from a grantor (seller) to a grantee (buyer). Multiple types of deeds perform this function–some examples being warranty deeds, grant deeds, mortgage deeds, and quit claim deeds. Although quit claims may not necessarily be as common as other types of deeds, they are still used for many purposes and can be widely beneficial in several situations. What sets apart a quit claim deed is that they can transfer the owner’s title much faster than other deeds, but offers the least amount of buyer protection.
Uses of Quit Claims in Georgia
A quit claim can be beneficial in a multitude of situations and provides a fast, reliable way to transfer property. Some of the most common uses of quit claims include:
Transfer of Property Ownership
The most common use of quit claims in Georgia is the transfer of property ownership. When a person sells their property, they can transfer their interest in the property to the buyer using a quit claim. The document is signed by the grantor, effectively completing the process. This type of transfer is often used when the grantor wants to sell the property fast and does not wish to deal with legal liability regarding the status and/or validity of the property.
If you get married, you or your spouse may wish to shift individual ownership of certain property into joint property–such as a home or a vehicle. A quit claim allows you to easily add your spouse to the title without the burden of additional inspections and steps needed in other types of deeds.
In a divorce, it is customary for the parties to divide property that was once shared. In this situation, quit claims can be used to transfer property ownership rights from one spouse to another.
Clearing Title Issues
Quit claims can be used to clear up title issues. If there is a cloud on a property’s title, meaning that there is an unresolved ownership issue, a quit claim can be used to transfer ownership rights to the rightful owner. Quit claims can also be used to correct any errors in the title and quickly update them.
When is Using a Quit Claim Appropriate?
Because of the nature of a quit claim deed, the use of a quit claim is most appropriate in scenarios where there is a level of trust between the parties involved–such as transferring property between close members of a family. Generally, a quit claim should be used when there is a clear understanding from both parties regarding the status of the title and are sure there is little to no risk involved since quit claims do not provide you with many guarantees for the buyer. Quit claims are often used in less formal matters where the history and validity of a title are not as important as the transaction being completed in a quick and timely matter.
Additionally, there are situations where the use of a quit claim may not be the most appropriate. Quit claims may not be appropriate in situations where the grantor wants to guarantee that they own the property or when there are any notable ownership issues. They also may not be appropriate in situations where there are multiple owners of the property or if the property is subject to a mortgage–as that may overcomplicate a process that is meant to be simple.
How to File a Quit Claim in Georgia
The process of filing a quit claim is fairly straightforward but can be easily done incorrectly for someone without legal training and experience. It is strongly recommended that most people obtain the services of an experienced Georgia real estate attorney to draft and record a Georgia Quit Claim. However, the process is usually as follows: Firstly, you must obtain a Georgia quit claim deed form and fill it out accordingly. An attorney will usually have their own court tested and accepted form that they use, which may vary by the county the quit claim is filed in. The form will contain fields asking about the grantor (seller), the grantee (buyer), the property itself, and other necessary information. A proper quit claim should include the property’s legal description and the parcel ID placed on the form in the required areas, which is defined under Georgia law. After the form is completed, it must be signed by the grantor and one (1) witness. Further, the form must be notarized to make the document official. Finally, to finalize the transfer, the form will need to be submitted to the Georgia Clerk of the Superior Court of the county in which the property in question is located. Because an improperly drafted and filed quit claim can cause tremendous legal and financial problems, it is best to hire an experienced Georgia real estate attorney to draft, review, and file a quit claim.
Advantages of Quit Claims
Although quit claims are not the most commonly used type of deed, many individuals will choose to obtain one due to the several advantages that it provides to both the grantor and grantee. These advantages include:
Easier than most Deed Formats and Faster
Quit claims are easier to prepare than other deeds, making them an attractive option for owners who wish to transfer their titles more quickly. Unlike other types of deeds, such as warranty deeds or special warranty deeds, quit claims do not require a title search–which is the process of examining public records on a piece of property to confirm its legal ownership. As title searches may take time (especially if the property is older) and may result in delays or other issues, the lack of one that a quit claim deed offers can save valuable time.
Another major advantage to using quit claims is that they cost less to execute than other deeds. As previously mentioned, quit claims do not require a title search unlike most other deeds, which will save you some money. Additionally, quit claims do not require you to pay any transfer taxes.
Avoids Probate and Administration
The use of a quit claim deed to transfer property before the grantor passes away is an effective method to avoid the property going through probate court after their death. Quit claims can easily transfer property to a beneficiary or a living trust. This way, the family of the grantor is free from any burdens coming from the costs associated with probate court and can save some money.
Negatives of Quit Claims
While quit claims have several benefits one may wish to take advantage of, they are not the most common method of transferring property. The simple and cost-effective nature of a quit claim also comes with its downsides, most stemming from the fact that they are non-warranty deeds, offering little to no buyer protection. Some of these negatives include:
When a person signs a quit claim, they do not guarantee that they own the property, but merely transfer their ownership rights to the buyer. This means that if there are any ownership issues with the property, the buyer may not have any recourse. This also means that the grantor could technically attempt to transfer property that they may not even own the title for–but a buyer would still be able to take the deed using a quit claim. The buyer would then end up with nothing they were promised, which could cause a multitude of problems, aside from the trouble of the transaction being deceptive.
Quit claims do not provide any security for the buyer of the property as it contains no warranty regarding the quality of the title being transferred. If the grantor does not disclose any ownership issues or liens on the property they are transferring, the buyer would most likely be responsible for resolving these issues.
Due to these aspects, it is imperative that one takes into careful consideration the significance of their title before deciding to use a quit claim and is fully aware of the potential risks they may experience. These “downsides” are the main reason why quit claims are mostly used in simple transfers between trusted individuals. If you wish to transfer property but are not able to assume the risk due to the complex nature of your transaction, consider using a warranty deed instead.
Although using a quit claim is a fairly straightforward process compared to other types of deeds, it may still be difficult to understand. Because of this, it is important to obtain assistance from a professional when you need to transfer property. A skilled Georgia attorney will help you determine if a quit claim is the right legal choice to make and guide you through the steps of obtaining the deed.
This article is written below for informational purposes. As always, it is you are advised to consult with a local and experienced real estate attorney. Call us today at 770-609-1247 to speak with one of our experienced and caring attorneys. Contact >>