Can One File a Quitclaim Deed Without Refinancing the Mortgage?

by Mallory Malesky

Property ownership is transferred through deeds. As a homeowner, you have the ability to execute a quitclaim deed to change ownership, and you don't need to refinance the mortgage loan to file a quitclaim deed. Filing a quitclaim deed will change only the property's ownership and title, not anything regarding the loan.

Functions

Quitclaim deeds function like any other deed to transfer property ownership from one party to another, but these deeds provide no guarantee from the grantor to the grantee that the property is free and clear of any liens. A quitclaim only transfers to the grantee whatever ownership rights the grantor has. Because of this, a quitclaim deed is most commonly used between related parties to add or remove someone as an owner. For example, an ex-spouse can use a quitclaim deed to be removed as an owner of a property after a divorce, or, if you own a property by yourself and then get married, you can add your spouse as an owner through a quitclaim deed.

Features

A quitclaim deed includes basic information, including the grantor and grantee's names and a legal description of the property. Quitclaim deeds are signed by the grantor in the presence of a notary public. Because there's no guarantee provided to the grantee, quitclaim deeds aren't often used when a property is purchased at it's fair market value. A sales price -- or consideration -- is not generally listed on a quitclaim deed, but a nominal amount, such as $1 or $10, is stated instead.

Filing

After a quitclaim deed is signed and notarized, it should be filed with the county clerk or recorder. Recording the deed makes it part of the public record. The next time a title search is completed, the change of ownership appears. The legal owners of a property are determined by the most recent deed filed on record.

Considerations

Changing a property's ownership by a quitclaim deed doesn't affect the mortgage loan. Adding an owner doesn't make him financially responsible, and, likewise, removing an owner who is also a borrower doesn't remove his financial responsibility. The only way to change borrowers on the mortgage is to refinance the loan with different borrowers. A refinance loan is actually a completely new loan that's used to pay off the existing mortgage. The borrowers applying for a refinance loan will need to be approved by the lender based on their credit history and incomes.

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