What Is a Quitclaim Deed in Texas?
A quitclaim deed in Texas is a legal document mainly used to transfer real property rights, if any, between a Grantor (current owner) and a Grantee (new owner).
Quitclaim deeds function differently in Texas than in most other states in two big ways:
- In Texas, if a property’s ownership changed hands in the past but wasn’t officially documented (recorded), the unrecorded transfer could still have legal significance. This might affect the ownership of someone who later gets the property, especially if they didn’t offer anything valuable in return. Although a new law was enacted in September 2021, setting a four-year statute of limitations for including a previous deed in the chain of titles, quitclaim deeds are still seen as problematic in Texas.
- Texas offers the choice to file “deeds without warranty.” Similar to quitclaim deeds in other states, a deed without warranty is used in Texas to transfer property without any guarantees about the title’s condition.
What Is the Difference Between a Quitclaim Deed and a Warranty Deed in Texas?
The main difference between warranty deeds and quitclaim deeds in Texas lies in the level of protection they offer to the Grantee over the property’s title.Texas offers three types of warranty deeds: general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and deeds without warranty.
1. General Warranty Deeds
General warranty deeds provide assurance that the deed is free of any issues, including liens and title problems.
2. Special Warranty Deeds
With a special warranty deed, the seller (Grantor) assures that there have been no issues with the title during their period of ownership.
3. Deed Without Warranty
A deed without warranty does not contain any assurances or warranties of the title being free of issues. However, as it contains terms of “implied warranty”, a deed without warranty is still considered to be a valid deed in Texas.
A quitclaim deed in Texas only transfers the Grantor’s interest or right in the property, if any. It does not make an assurance that the title is valid.
How Does a Quitclaim Deed Differ from a Deed Without Warranty in Texas?
In Texas, the difference between a deed without warranty and a quitclaim deed is in the wording used. A deed without warranty contains words such as “grant”, “convey,” or “sell” – terms known to “imply warranty”. Although the deed without warranty will also include a clause removing warranties, the presence of implied terms in the main text signals the Grantor’s intent to transfer real property.
A quitclaim deed uses terms such as “release”, “forever quitclaim the right,” or “remise”. These terms state that the Grantor is only giving up his right to the property.
How Do Quitclaim Deeds Work in Texas?
In Texas, the courts determine whether a document is a quitclaim deed or a deed without warranty based on the terms used. As such, no single law oversees quitclaims in Texas.
Once the deed is drafted, it must be recorded at the County Clerk’s Office.
Why Are Quitclaim Deeds Problematic in Texas
- The problems with quitclaim deeds in Texas are rooted in the state’s law which says that if the property’s ownership changed hands in the past but wasn’t officially documented (recorded), the unrecorded transfer could still have legal significance later on.
- This law is especially binding on transfers that have no value exchanged, as is usually the case with quitclaim deeds.
In December 2021, Isaac found that his father sold the land to a friend in December 2005. The friend never registered the deed but has a receipt and a copy of the deed to prove the transfer.
In this scenario, the court will rule in favor of Mr. Smith’s friend. Even though the transfer was not registered, the value exchange will give it legal precedence.
Isaac will lose the property.
- For these reasons, most Texas title insurance companies refuse to insure a quitclaim deed.
- Texas courts describe quitclaim deeds as an instrument that gives the Grantee or buyer only “a chance at the title”.
- In fact, the Texas Supreme Court stated that when a quitclaim deed is used, the purchaser (Grantee) should be aware that the seller (Grantor) has doubts about their ownership.
- In other words, in Texas, if a quitclaim deed is used, it is seen as the Grantor saying, “I am not sure if this property belongs to me, but if it does, you can have it”, while the Grantee says in response “I know the property may not be yours, but if it is, I’ll take it.”
Can You Prepare Your Own Quitclaim Deed in Texas?
A professional drafter is not legally required in Texas. If a drafter does prepare the document, their name and address must be included in the deed.
Texas Quitclaim Deed Requirements
In Texas, quitclaim deeds are required to meet the content standards that apply to all deeds, including all of the following:
- Names of Grantor and Grantee.
- The Grantee’s mailing address.
- Date of transfer.
- A legal description of the property.
- The address of the property.
- The price, if any amount, is paid for the transfer.
- The document must be in English.
- The following notice of confidentiality must be included (typed in 12-point font, all caps):
“NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIALITY RIGHTS: IF YOU ARE A NATURAL PERSON, YOU MAY REMOVE OR STRIKE ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION FROM ANY INSTRUMENT THAT TRANSFERS AN INTEREST IN REAL PROPERTY BEFORE IT IS FILED FOR RECORD IN THE PUBLIC RECORDS: YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE NUMBER.”
Who Signs a Quitclaim Deed in Texas?
In Texas, quitclaim deeds require the signature of the Grantor. The Grantor must have their signature authenticated by a notary. Alternatively, Texas allows the Grantor’s signature to be authenticated by two witnesses.
How to File a Quitclaim Deed in Texas
Here’s how to file a quitclaim deed in Texas:
- Once the quitclaim deed is drafted, the Grantor must sign the document, ensuring that the signature is validated by a notary or two witnesses.
- After notarization, the quitclaim must be recorded with the applicable fees at the Clerk’s Office in the county where the property is located.
How Much Does it Cost to File a Quitclaim Deed in Texas?
The filing fees for quitclaim deeds in Texas start at $26.00 for the first page, and there’s an additional charge of $4 for each extra page.
In addition to the basic fee above, each county may require separate filing and recording fees.
What Taxes Are Owed on Quitclaim Deeds in Texas?
In Texas, there are no state taxes triggered by the transfer of property. However, local governments are authorized to collect property tax (Ex: Dallas collects 2.18% of the purchase price, Travis County collects 1.98%). If the property is transferred without any payment in return (which is common for quitclaim deeds), then no taxes are due.
How Long Does a Quitclaim Deed Take to be Recorded in Texas?
There is no particular time period for recording a quitclaim deed in Texas. The length of time also varies greatly depending on the processes, procedures, and population of each county. For example, Bexar County takes 1-2 business days to process a deed.
What Happens After a Quitclaim Deed is Recorded in Texas?
In Texas, 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 Texas?
A quitclaim deed does not have an expiration date in Texas. The statute of limitations for challenging a deed in Texas is four years; however, this law is applicable to quitclaim deeds filed after September 1, 2021.
- 1 Texas Statutes, Property Codes, Title 3, Chapter 13(b)
- 2 Texas Property Code § 13.006
- 3 Texas Property Code § 5.023
- 4 Texas Senate Bill (C.S.S.B. 885)
- 5 Texas Property Code § 11.001.
- 6 Texas National Title: Comments on S.B.885
- 7 Diversified v. Hall, 23 S.W.3d 403
- 8 Richardson v. Levy, 67, Tex. 359,S.W.3 444
- 9 Texas Property Code § 11.003
- 10 Texas Property Code § 5.022
- 11 Texas Property Code § 11.002
- 12 Texas Property Code § Sec. 11.008
- 13 Texas Property Code § 12.001
- 14 Texas Property Code § 118.011 and § 118.013
- 15 Texas Property Tax