California Quitclaim Deed Form

Last Updated: December 2, 2023 by Rukshani Lye

California Quitclaim Deed Template_1 on iPropertyManagement.com

What is a Quitclaim Deed in California?

A Quitclaim Deed in California is a quick method of transferring property ownership. It allows the property owner (“Grantor”) to transfer their interests in the property to a new owner (“Grantee”). Quitclaim deeds are a quick way to transfer property, yet, they provide the lowest level of security among real estate deeds in California.

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The most common use of quitclaim deeds is between two parties with high levels of trust, such as family members or close friends.

What is the Difference Between a Quitclaim Deed, a Warranty Deed, and a Grant Deed in California?

The main difference between a quitclaim deed, a warranty deed, and a Grant deed in California lies in the level of protection they offer to the Grantee over the property’s title.

California offers two types of deeds: warranty deeds and grant deeds.

1. Warranty Deed

In California, a warranty deed provides the Grantee a complete assurance about the property’s title.

2. Grant Deed

In California, a grant deed offers a partial warranty of title. The Grantor assures that there have been no issues with the title during their period of ownership.

A quitclaim deed does not provide any assurances that the deed is free from defects. Both grant deeds and warranty deeds in California provide some assurance that the property does not have conflicts in ownership. A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, will only transfer the owner’s interest in the property.

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How Do Quitclaim Deeds Work in California?

State law ruling quitclaim deeds can be found in the California Civil Code, under Division 2, Property. Quitclaim deeds are one of the ways to communicate the transfer of real property.

In California, a quitclaim deed must contain specific information, including the property’s Assessor Parcel Number (APN) and the amount of documentary transfer tax paid. Once drafted, the deed should be recorded at the County Recorder’s Office.

Can You Prepare Your Own Quitclaim Deed in California?

A professional drafter is not legally required in California. If a drafter does prepare the document, their name and address must be included in the deed.

California Quitclaim Deed Requirements

There are multiple requirements for formatting and content that need to be included in a quitclaim deed in California

Formatting Requirements.

Formatting requirements for quitclaim deeds in California include:

  • Print only on one side of the paper.
  • Paper size: between 8.5 x 11 to 8.5 x 14 inches.
  • Maintain 0.5-inch margins on two sides for recording space.
  • Allow 2.5-inch top space for recording info.
  • Use the left 3.5-inch space for name and address.
  • Ensure the deed has suitable font and ink.
  • Text should have a maximum of 9 lines per vertical inch and 22 characters per horizontal inch, spanning at least 3 inches in a single sentence.

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If the content is not legible or if it is not formatted according to Californian guidelines: a) Additional charges may apply.

b) The person submitting the document may be asked to resubmit a clear original, ensuring that all aspects are reverified, including seals and certificates.

Content Requirements.

Content requirements for quitclaim deeds in California include:

  • Grantor’s name.
  • Grantee’s name.
  • Date of execution.
  • The address and a legal description of the property.
  • Granting clause ( A statement expressing a Grantor’s intent to transfer interest in the property).
  • Recipient’s name and address for new deed and future tax statements.
  • The title “Quitclaim” noted below the top margin.
  • The quitclaim deed must be in English. Non-English deeds must be translated (verified and certified), accompanied by a notarized declaration from the translator confirming accuracy.
  • The amount due as Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT).
  • The Assessor’s Parcel Number. The APN is available at the County Assessor’s Office.
  • Title Insurance Disclosure

If the Grantee lacks title insurance, California law mandates a notice about title insurance in escrow transactions. The Grantee must sign and acknowledge the notice, which is worded as follows:

“IMPORTANT: IN A PURCHASE OR EXCHANGE OF REAL PROPERTY, IT MAY BE ADVISABLE TO OBTAIN TITLE INSURANCE IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLOSE OF ESCROW SINCE THERE MAY BE PRIOR RECORDED LIENS AND ENCUMBRANCES WHICH AFFECT YOUR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY BEING ACQUIRED. A NEW POLICY OF TITLE INSURANCE SHOULD BE OBTAINED IN ORDER TO ENSURE YOUR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY THAT YOU ARE ACQUIRING.”

Who Signs a Quitclaim Deed in California?

In California, quitclaim deeds require only the Grantor’s signature. The deed must be signed in the presence of a notary for authentication.

How to File a Quitclaim Deed in California

Here’s how to file a quitclaim deed in California:

  1. Prepare the quitclaim deed with the information required.
  2. Ensure the Grantor’s signature is notarized.
  3. File a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report. In California, whenever property ownership changes, this form must be filed with the quitclaim deed at the Recorder’s Office.
  4. Unless the deed qualifies for exemptions, ensure the tax amounts owed are paid.
  5. The quitclaim deed can be filed at the County Recorder’s Office, where the property is located.

How Much Does it Cost to File a Quitclaim Deed in California?

In California, the cost to file quitclaim deeds includes two separate types of fees.

  1. Each county charges base filing fees. The amount varies. However, the fee begins at $10 for the first page and $3 for each additional page.
  2.  The Building Homes and Jobs Act Recording Fee is $75 per parcel of real property, with a maximum imposed fee capped at $225.  
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  • If a quitclaim involves one land transfer, the cost is $75.00.
  • For 4 or more lands transferred through a single quitclaim, the fee is $225 (not $75 X 4).
  • When separate deeds transfer multiple lands, for instance, 5 deeds for 5 lands, the total is $375 ($75 X 5).

What Taxes Are Owed on Quitclaim Deeds in California?

In California, the purchase of property using a quitclaim deed triggers the following taxes that must be paid at the time of the transfer:

Documentary Transfer Tax

  1.  The DTT is calculated at $1.10 per $1,000 (or $0.55 per $500.00) of the transfer value (sales price) of the property.
  2. In addition to the county DTT, a city transfer tax may be applied. The rate may vary; for instance, in Los Angeles, the city transfer tax rate is $4.50 per $1000.

If the quitclaim transfer does not involve any financial exchange, then no taxes are due.

Although California does not levy gift taxes on a state level, the transfer may still trigger the U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax (Form 709).

In California, Capital Gains Tax is payable to the state as well as the federal government.

In California, a number of transfers that are generally filed under quitclaim deeds are tax-exempt, including:

  1. Instruments securing debt (mortgages)
  2. Transfers of partnership realty in specific cases.
  3. Transfers of community property as part of divorce proceedings.
  4. Transfers of lands or reality through gifts or inheritance.
  5. Tax exemption for conveyances of realty financed/refinanced by nonprofit corporations.

How Long Does a Quitclaim Deed Take to be Recorded in California?

The length of time to record a quitclaim deed in California varies greatly depending on the processes, procedures, and population of each county. For example, Orange County takes two to three weeks to record a deed.

What Happens After a Quitclaim Deed is Recorded in California

In California, once the quitclaim deed is signed and filed, the county will process the document, creating a public record of the transfer of ownership.

If the deed is clear of any previous filings, a public record of the transfer of the property’s ownership will be made official.

How Long Are Quitclaim Deeds Valid For in California?

There is no expiration for quitclaim deeds in California. However, the statute of limitations for challenging a deed in California is 4 years from the date the deed was recorded with the county.

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