A California quit claim deed allows a property owner (the grantor or seller) to transfer ownership or interest in a property to another party (the grantee or buyer) without doing a title search or other discovery or providing a warranty. In California, quit claim deeds are often used to transfer property between family members, add or remove a spouse, change the status of a jointly owned property, or transfer real property into a living trust.
Laws & Requirements
Statute: California has no specific language requirements for a quit claim deed. However, they do not provide any guarantees of warranty. Use words like “quit claim” rather than “grant” or “sell” when creating your deed. The term “grant” implies a warranty of title.
Signing Requirements: California Government Code § 27287: California quit claim deeds must be notarized. The grantor (seller) must sign in the presence of the notary. The deed doesn’t need to be witnessed.
Recording Requirements: Once signed, all forms are filed with the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the property is located, along with the correct transfer tax amount.
Transfer Tax: Yes. Per California Revenue and Taxation Code §§ 11911-11913, counties or cities charge a documentary transfer tax on any document indicating the real estate transfer. There are also instances where a transfer tax is exempt: gifts, inheritances, transfers between spouses where no money is exchanged, transfers in divorce or legal separation, transfers in business reorganization, or writings to secure a debt.
Additional Documents: Form BOE-502-A: A Preliminary Change of Ownership Report form, specific to the county where the property is located, must be filed along with the quit claim deed.
Form BOE-502-A must be signed by the grantee. In addition, some counties may require a Documentary of Transfer Tax (also known as Transfer Tax Affidavit) or a Notice of Exempt Transaction.