How to Transfer Property Deeds in California

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In California and most of the United States, property ownership can be transferred quite easily. While the financing portion can be involved, the legal transfer of ownership (the paperwork) is pretty straightforward. In California, the document used to transfer real estate from one owner to another is called a quitclaim deed. The quitclaim deed authorizes the transfer of interest (conveyance) from the grantor to the grantee. Grantors must hire a notary public for this process.

A California quitclaim deed is usually no more than two pages long.
A California quitclaim deed is usually no more than two pages long. (Image: Pekic/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Hire a notary public for one hour. In California, you need not obtain a lawyer to complete the quitclaim deed. Any professional bonded to the state government is authorized to witness, sign, date and notarize a quitclaim deed. Schedule a meeting between yourself, the grantee (new owner) and the notary.

Hire a notary public for one hour.
Hire a notary public for one hour. (Image: IuriiSokolov/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Complete the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (Resource 1). This is a required document in California. On this form, you must detail the property information (structures, land, dimensions), the grantor and grantee, the type of transfer and the original purchase price.

Complete the preliminary change of ownership report.
Complete the preliminary change of ownership report. (Image: Dmitriy Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Sit down for the quitclaim meeting. To help the grantee, you might want to bring all of your original title and deed documents. California law does not guarantee a clean title (a property free of liens) when a quitclaim is filed. To give the new grantee peace of mind, you can bring these documents to the meeting.

Sit down for the quitclaim meeting.
Sit down for the quitclaim meeting. (Image: IuriiSokolov/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 4

Sign the quitclaim deed. Have the grantee complete his section. The notary must check both of your IDs, sign, date and place his embossed seal on the document. Make copies for yourself, the grantee and the notary.

Sign the quitclaim deed.
Sign the quitclaim deed. (Image: IuriiSokolov/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Bring the quitclaim deed and the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report to your Registry of Deeds. These are both required to record the deed. Pay the recording fee. Wait for two weeks to get the official book and page number where the deed is recorded.

Bring the quitclaim deed to your Registry of Deeds.
Bring the quitclaim deed to your Registry of Deeds. (Image: prizela_ning/iStock/Getty Images)

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