At some point, property owners go through the process of transferring a property title to or from another party. In this case, they could be conveying the ownership of a property to someone else by either selling the property, gifting the possession, or transferring it upon demise. With a deed acting as an official proof of asset(s) transfer.
Notwithstanding, many people perceive the process of conveying a house title to be a tedious and daunting exercise. This article offers a simple guide to transferring a house title to another party to make the process easier and faster.
Step #1. Identify the type of deed you will use
The process of transferring a house title begins with identifying the type of deed you will use. Different types of legal documents are available depending on the party you are conveying the house to and how much protection you want to give the new owner. The main types of these agreements are;
- General warranty deed—conveys a property and all interests related to it from the seller (grantor) to the buyer (grantee). This type of deed protects the buyer from any acts of the seller and previous owners that may jeopardize the quality of the title. This deed is the most common in real estate sales. Importantly, before you agree to this type of binding document, ensure you know the house’s ownership history because you will be liable if any problem arises.
- Special warranty deed—this type of legal paper is similar to the general warranty deed—with the only difference being that you protect the title against defects that occurred when you owned the property. You, therefore, don’t mitigate claims that arose before you owned the property. You can use this deed when selling your property to someone unfamiliar to you. Also, when you’re uncertain about the property’s history before you owned it.
- Quitclaim deed—with this deed, you transfer any interest in the property to another party. This type of binding agreement is risky because it provides low-level buyer protection. It is applicable when conveying the property to friends, family, or spouse after a divorce.
Step #2. Identify the grantee
As stated earlier, the grantee is the person receiving the house title. Whether you are selling, gifting, or transferring a house at death, you must have a grantee. You must include the name -and in some states, address and other identifying details- of the grantee to have a valid deed. The grantee can be one person, many persons, or a company.
Step #3. Hire a real estate attorney to prepare the deed
You can choose to draft the legal document by yourself. However, it can be demanding, especially if you are drawing up a warranty deed. As a rule of thumb, it’s best practice to hire a real estate attorney to prepare the legal agreement for you. Such legal experts give you advice related to the deed and transfer of ownership. Overall, an accredited and experienced attorney can save you time and even money in the transfer process.
Step#4. Review the deed
After the attorney prepares the deed, you should review it to ensure all the data is accurate and complete. The deed should include the name of the grantor, that of the grantee, correct addresses, and the legal description of the property. Caveat—Do not sign the deed yet.
Step #5. Sign the deed
At this step, the seller -or sellers- must sign the deed in front of a notary public. The notary certifies that the agreement is indeed signed by the individual whose signature appears in it. Depending on your state’s law, you may have other witnesses as the law dictates. The grantor does not have to sign the deed.
Step #6. Recording the deed
The last phase in transferring a house title entails taking it to the local county records office for filing. Here, you pay pertinent fees and taxes associated with the deed to complete the transfer. The costs incurred during the entire transfer process may include transfer tax, deed preparation fee, gift tax, and recording fees. Finally, you have successfully transferred a house title to the new owner.
Ultimately, transferring a house title to another party can be challenging and time-consuming. Follow these simple steps the next time you want to transfer property ownership, and you won’t regret it.