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Frequently Asked Questions - Real Estate Deed Transfer
 
1. What is a Real Estate Deed Transfer?
2. What is a Quit Claim Deed?
3. What is a Warranty Deed?
4. What is a Special Warranty Deed?
5. How should I title my property?
6. What is ‘consideration’?
7. Can my family members witness or notarize my Deed?
8. What should I consider before adding someone to title?
9. Are there any additional fees associated with my Deed?
10. What is required to make a Deed valid?
11. What if I cannot locate my current Deed?
12. Where should I keep my Deed?
 
 
 
1. What is a Real Estate Deed Transfer?
  A Real Estate Deed is a legal document that transfers ownership of real estate from one party to another. All current owners (grantors) of the property must sign authorizing the transfer to the new party (grantees). For those wishing to add or remove a party from title, a new Real Estate Deed must be executed.
 
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2. What is a Quit Claim Deed?
  A Quit Claim Deed is a type of deed in which the grantor (current owner) transfers whatever interest they have in the property and makes no warrantees/guarantees as to the validity of title. A Quit Claim Deed is typically used to add or remove a family member from title, to fund a Living Trust, or to transfer property to and from a business entity. This type of Deed is not typically used when a property is being sold for monetary value.
 
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3. What is a Warranty Deed?
  A Warranty Deed is a type of deed in which the grantor (current owner) guarantees that they hold clear title to the property and have the right to convey it to you. The guarantee is not limited to the time the grantor owned the property—it extends back to the property's origins. The grantor (owner) states there are no hidden liens or encumbrances on the property. In other words, there are no debts or holds other than those that are obvious in the public records. The owner guarantees that if someone contests the title, they will stand-by and defend it. This deed is typically used when a property is being sold for monetary value.
 
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4. What is a Special Warranty Deed?
  A Special Warranty Deed is a type of deed in which the grantor (current owner) only guarantees and defends the title to a property for the time they have owned it. This protects the grantor from being responsible for any work done to the property when it was in the control of previous owners. As an example, a grantor purchases property from a previous owner, makes some improvements, and resells the property six months later. At the time the grantor purchased the property, the hot water heater seemed to be working fine. Two month after the new buyer moves in, the hot water heater fails. In this case, the grantor cannot be held liable, since the water heater was working fine at the time he or she sold the property. This Deed is typically used when a property is being sold for monetary value, but the grantor wishes to limit liability to the time of his or her ownership.
 
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5. How should I title my property?
  There are several ways to hold title to real estate. Listed below are the most common:

‘tenants in common’:
There are two or more parties who hold title to property. Upon the death of any of the owners, their interest passes to their heirs named in the Will. This is common in business relationships where owners hold different percentage interests of a property. Probate court is required in this type of vesting. All tenants’ signatures are required to sell or mortgage the property.

‘joint tenants’:
There are two or more parties who hold title. Each owner has an equal share of the property. Upon the death of any owner(s), their share is automatically passed to the other owner(s) equally without the need for costly probate court. All tenants’ signatures are required to sell or mortgage the property.

‘tenants by the entirety’:
Similar to ‘joint tenants’, however the joint tenants are husband and wife -- with each owning one-half interest in the property. In the event of one spouse’s death, their interest passes to the other spouse without the need for probate court. Neither spouse can sell or mortgage the property without the signature of the other.

‘sole ownership’:
There is only one complete owner of the property.
 
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6. What is consideration?
  “Anything which is of legal value that induces one to enter into a contract”. For a deed to be valid, some sort of consideration must be listed to evoke the transfer by the grantor (seller). It is common practice for Deeds to list a consideration of $10.00 (Ten Dollars and 00/100). This does not mean that the property is being sold or transferred for $10.00, just a showing of nominal ‘consideration’ to make the deed valid. The actual sales price (if any) would be listed on the real estate contract or other agreement being used.
 
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7. Can my family members witness or notarize my Deed?
  No, immediate family members cannot witness or notarize a Deed in which family members have an interest. This helps to prevent fraud or questions of conflict of interest. It is customary in many states for the notary public to be one of the two witnesses on a Real Estate Deed transfer.
 
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8. What should I consider before adding someone to title?
  Consider the history of whom you are adding to your property. If this person or entity has any judgments or liens against them, they may attach to your property. For example, John was sued 3 years ago and lost the case. The court granted a certified judgment against John for damages in the amount of $5,000. The judgment was then recorded in the public records. If John is deeded onto your property, his judgment may attach, thereby encumbering the property - the judgment must be paid upon the sale or refinance. (CreateLegalDocs.com can perform a title search to determine if a party has liens or judgments). 
 
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9. Are there any additional fees associated with my Deed?
  Yes, county agencies typically collect fees for filing the Deed. This can range anywhere from $20-$150. Some states require the submission of documentary stamp taxes when a new Deed is filed.  Your local clerk of court will have this information.
 
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10. What is required to make a Deed valid?
  A Deed is required to be executed by all current owners of the property (and possibly their spouses depending on homestead status), witnessed by two unrelated parties, and notarized. The legal description of the property must attached to the Deed and be complete and accurate. There must be some sort of consideration or value to induce the transfer. Once properly executed, a Deed becomes valid when ‘delivered’ by grantor and ‘accepted’ by grantee. This act signifies the intent and acceptance of the transfer. However, it is customary for a Deed to be filed in the public records of the county the property is located. This act makes the transfer public knowledge. All grantors and grantees must be of legal age (usually 18 years), of sound mind, and be capable of conveying or receiving title to real property.
 
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11. What if I cannot locate my current Deed?
  Don’t worry. Fill out as much information as possible on our questionnaire. We will run a title search to determine all owners and the exact legal description of the property.
 
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12. Where should I keep my Deed?
  Your Deed should be kept in a secure location such as a safe deposit box at a bank or a fire-proof home safe. Although your Deed may be accessed via the public records system, cases may arise in which the original copy will be necessary. Safeguard your Deed.
 
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