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Mooney Real Estate Law: What is a Quitclaim Deed?

Quitclaim deed in real estate law

You have likely heard the term Quitclaim deed. Although you may have heard of it when you purchased real estate or a home yourself, you may not know exactly what the term means and what type of deed it is. We answer that question here for you.

One thing that I hear frequently from my clients is that they are interested in a doing a quick deed. As an Real Estate Attorney, that would make me happy. My hope is that the completion of all of deeds are quick and tidy affairs.  But, when the reference to this type of deed is repeated a few times, I realize they are not making reference to the speediness of my typing skills, but rather a very specific type of deed, the quitclaim deed.

Most people are surprised to find out there are several types of deeds. Let’s explain deed terminology first. The Grantor is the person/entity who is actually selling or transferring the interest in the property. The person acquiring the interest in the property is called the Grantee. The quitclaim deed is the least sophisticated of all deed types.  Here is what this type of deed is pretty much saying . . . “whatever interest I may hold in a certain property, I grant and convey to whoever is listed as grantee.”  That is your basic quitclaim deed. Think of it in terms of a ‘non-warranty deed.’ The Grantor is not making or providing any promises or guarantees to the Grantee.

Notice what the deed is not saying? It is not saying that the person or entity conveying the property even has any legitimate interest in the property. The person conveying the property may actually have ZERO legal interest in the property. That is an important Quitclaim Deeddistinction.

So when would one use this type of deed? Most of the time something like this could be used in a divorce situation.  Regardless of how a property is titled, all real property owned by married persons is presumed to be martial property and thus requires both parties’ signatures to properly effectuate a transfer of the property.   This is a prime example of when to use a quitclaim deed.   One of the parties may not ever have appeared on a properties “chain of title,” however, this does not preclude them from deeding over any interest they may have in the property.

Since no promises or guarantees are being made, quitclaim deeds are usually used for low-risk transactions between people who know each other. Quitclaim deeds, therefore, are commonly used to transfer property within a family, such as from a parent to an adult child, between siblings or when a property owner gets married and wants to add his or her spouse to the title. The reason to only use this deed in a situation of trust is that with the lack of any warranties, if the title contains a defect, then the grantee has no legal recourse against the grantor under the deed.

Count on Mooney

Mooney & Associates has a full real estate practice and can assist you in deed transfers, purchasing of real estate, and complex real estate litigation issues. For a consultation on your real estate matter, contact us today at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656/ We have fourteen offices through South Central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.

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