When selling property on the open market, a real estate agent and legal team handle the property title transfer. When transferring a property title to a friend or family member without selling the property, however, there may not be the incentive to hire a real estate agent which means a necessary understanding of the process. Every state has its own specific variations for the process but the main rules remain the same across the board.
How to transfer property title
On the grant deed (or warranty deed, depending on the language preferred by the state) for the property, the current owner needs to fill in the name and address of the property owner as well as who the property will be transferred to. The individual (or individuals) who own the property are referred to as the donor, or grantor (depending on the document’s language). The individual receiving the title is known as either the recipient or grantee. The property address is filled in on the document in order to avoid any confusion.
Additional documentation is required to pass off the title to another individual. Each state will have some select rules, but usually all that is required is a copy of the current title and a description of the property.
Within the transfer packet, a description of the terms for which the property is being transferred is required. It may just be a straight forward transfer. Other times, the transfer may not occur until after the title owner has died or moved away. Whatever the situation may be, it must be included within the terms of transfer. If there is money exchanged for the property, this must be claimed. Taxes are paid on the purchase (transfer), which is why the monetary amount must be included here. If the transfer is considered a quitclaim deed, it may not require any sort of money transfers. Additionally, a gift deed (such as passing off the property in the event of a death) may not have any sort of monetary transfer either. Whenever a property is transferred without money, the terms of the transfer will state as much.
The length of time of the transfer must be included within the terms of the deed; usually this is “now and forever.” Note that a special warranty deed transfers the title but it only protects the recipient of the title for claims made against the property from when the current owner obtained the rights.
After all of the paperwork is in order, there needs to be at least three copies made.
- One copy is for the recipient of the title.
- The second copy is for the original owner.
- The third copy must be filed at the county office.
All copies must be signed by both parties. There also needs to be two witnesses (typically) during the signing. A notary does not count for both witnesses. They can count as one, but a second is often required. If the deed is a gift deed, the witness needs to be what is referred to as a disinterested party. This means the witness cannot be a family member. If the individual has died before signing off the property title, the individual who is in charge of the estate or who has been granted power of attorney will sign over the property title.
With everything signed and filled in, the copy of the title must now be presented to the county office. A small processing fee is charged (which will vary based on location). This completes the changing of a title.
Son-Rise Property Management is a full service property management company located in Bellingham, WA. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the perfect home to rent or manage your property.