When California Property Title is conveyed from one party to another, a deed is the instrument that used for this purpose. The deed contains the names of the current owner (the grantor) and the new owner (the grantee), the legal description of the property, and is signed by the grantor. Transfers of real property must be in writing and notarized. Deeds should be recorded in the county where the property is located.
You will also need to decide how you are going to hold title when you are buying property. Co-buyers can take title as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenants in common. In California, a husband and wife may take title to property as husband and wife, as community property, since California is a community property state.
The following are deeds that are used for transfer of real property in California:
California, unlike other states, uses a statutory grant deed most often to transfer interest in real estate. It is similar to a warranty deed. The California grant deed assures the grantee that the title to the property has not been conveyed to someone else, and that the property is free of encumbrances. Transfer of property may also be done through a quitclaim deed in California.
A contract for deed, land contract or installment agreement is used when the seller agrees to finance the purchase of the property and holds title or deed as security until the buyer makes all the payments.
A quitclaim deed transfers ownership interest of the grantor to the grantee without any warranties or guarantees that title is good or that the property is free of liens or claims. A quitclaim deed is used mostly in non-sale transactions such as transfers between spouses or to clear any clouds on the title of the property.
A deed of trust or trust deed is similar to a mortgage. California uses deeds of trust instead of mortgages. Title is transferred to a trustee, which is usually a trust or title company that holds the real property as security for the borrower’s loan. At the time the loan is paid in full, title is transferred to the borrower. The only powers that the trustee has is the power of sale if the borrower defaults. The trustee can then sell the property to pay off the lender at a foreclosure sale auction.
Grant deeds transfer ownership from the grantor to the grantee. The grantor promises that title has not been transferred previously and that there are not any encumbrances, other than those stated in the deed.
A warranty deed is the most common type of deed used in most purchase and sale transactions. It offers the best protection for the grantee because it guarantees that the title is good and marketable. The grantor promises the grantee that the grantor will defend the grantee from any all claims made by third parties. The general warranty deed contains the following provisions:
When a special or limited warranty deed is used, the grantor only warrants that there are no title defects during the time the grantor owned the property. The special or limited warranty deed gives the grantee greater protection than a quitclaim deed and less protection than a full or general warranty deed.
If you are transferring property in California, you should consult with a real estate lawyer who can prepare the deed for you, and answer any questions that you may have regarding the transfer of real property.