You own property in California and wish to transfer it to another person or property. What are your options?
Your options will depend on why you’re making the transfer and to whom. Selling a property requires one type of deed, while simply giving up or gifting your share of a property to a relative, friend or spouse may require another. Some deeds provide more protections to the transferee than others.
If you’re seeking to transfer your property in or around Laguna Hills, California – or anywhere in the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego – contact J. Eric LeVine, ESQ. With four decades of experience in real estate law, I can answer your questions and help guide you to the result you’re seeking.
In California, a deed transfers the title to a property from one person (the grantor) to another (the grantee). Transfers can be voluntary or involuntary, such as by foreclosure. For a deed to be valid, several considerations must be met:
It must be in writing.
The parties must be properly described.
The parties must be competent both to grant the property and to receive it.
The property being conveyed must be accurately described to distinguish it from other properties.
There must be a granting clause, such as “I hereby grant.”
The deed must be signed by all parties involved.
The deed must be delivered and accepted.
In California, a deed must be recorded with the county recorder’s office to provide public notice that the title has been transferred.
In California, four types of deeds generally exist: Grant Deed, Warranty Deed, Trust Deed, and Quit Claim Deed.
In California, the Grant Deed is the most commonly used deed. A Grant Deed transfers property, but with only two guarantees: the seller didn’t transfer title to anyone else, and the property is free of encumbrances and liens unless otherwise stated in the deed. California has adopted two additional types of grant deeds called a Trust Transfer Deed and an Interspousal Transfer Deed which may used in very specific situations.
Title insurance, which lenders require, will offer further protections against title issues, liens, and encumbrances. Buyers should also require or purchase title insurance before they buy property.
A Warranty Deed includes several warranties concerning the property, guaranteeing there are no problems with the title, no claims, no liens, and no clouds on the title from the time the buyer makes the purchase, all the way back to the time the property was built. These are not commonly used in California because title insurance is purchased.
A Quit Claim Deed is often used between friends, relatives, and spouses. An owner quits any claim to title on the property and transfers it to the other person without any warranties as to the condition of the title. It offers very little protection, if any. Quit Claim Deeds are the second most commonly used deeds in California.
In California lenders use a Trust Deed with a “Power of Sale” clause to secure loans by using the property as collateral. In the event that the borrower defaults on the loan and lender follows proper procedures, it can foreclose without filing a lawsuit, forcing the sale of the property to pay the outstanding loan and related costs.
Though it’s possible to create a deed on your own using downloadable forms (especially if it’s a Quit Claim Deed) and then present the deed at the county recorder’s office or mail it in, transferring title is not really a do-it-yourself (DIY) venture. Additionally, the manner in which title is taken can have significant consequences. It is very important to understand the legal ramifications of taking title in one form or another such as joint tenancy vs. tenancy in common.
The more relied-on and accepted pathways to executing and recording deeds are to use an escrow/title insurance company or rely on an attorney to create the right deed and related forms required by the county recorder, have it properly executed and notarized, and then recorded.
If you’re looking to transfer the title to a property you own, you can rely on the experience, knowledge, and resources of J. Eric LeVine, ESQ. Contact me to discuss the details of your proposed transfer. I will advise you on your best option and help you complete the transfer as you envision it.
I’m located in Laguna Hills, California, but I have served clients throughout Southern California since beginning my practice in 1978. Call today and let’s get started with your deed requirements.