Transfer of Property Ownership – Complete Guide

By: ROS Team

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Homeownership is considered by some to be part of the American dream.  After all, owning land and property has historically proven to be extremely valuable.  Of course, it’s not possible to determine who owns property simply by looking at the property itself.  Documenting ownership involves extensive paperwork.

Real estate and property ownership documentation is part of the public record, meaning it is accessible to anyone who is looking for information about the property. Anytime a property is transferred to a new owner the seller and buyer have to complete the necessary paperwork to reflect the change.  Any mistake in this regard can cause disputes later or jeopardize the transaction altogether. With that in mind, it’s important that transactions involving property transfers are done right the first time.

Let’s explore some of the basics involved in transferring real estate and property titles.


Transfer of Property Ownership

The transfer of property ownership happens through a deed. Which is a legal document that reflects the description of the property. The name and signature of the individual who is transferring the property, and information about who is taking title to the property.

Deeds aren’t lengthy documents; however, additional information can be included in the property description like the condition of the property.  You can only claim and use the property if your name is listed on the title. When the property has multiple owners, all owners’ names should be listed on the deed. The property cannot be transferred without the consent of all owners. Having a clear title is very important when you plan to buy the property.

There are Two Types of Deeds:

1) Warranty Deeds
2) Quitclaim Deeds

Warranty Deeds

The most common way to transfer land ownership, especially residential property, is with a warranty deed. Warranty deeds not only make it possible for a property owner to transfer ownership to the buyer. But this type of deed also explicitly promises that the title is good and clear of all liens or other issues.  As a result, this deed type works best for sellers since it’s likely to attract buyers who aren’t interested in dealing with the hassle of obtaining a clear title later.

Quitclaim Deeds

Another common deed type is a quitclaim deed.  In this type of deed, the seller transfers any ownership interest he or she has in the real estate property. But gives no guarantee about the title of the property. This type of deed is used when the seller is not sure if the title is good and clear of liens. Quitclaim deeds are often seen between spouses during divorce cases or when the property is being transferred between family members.

A quitclaim deed is also used because sellers are not always in a position to make promises about the title of the property. In most cases with quitclaim deeds, the owner does have the valid right of ownership. But still does not want to make any guarantees about the title.

Quitclaim deeds are a quick way to sell the property. Sellers deal with any potential title issues by ignoring them altogether. Title insurance companies are also reluctant to cover titles that are transferred through quitclaim deeds.


Pro Tip: If you are considering buying a property through a quitclaim deed, it’s a good idea to understand why the seller is interested in a quitclaim deed instead of a warranty deed. The seller’s reason may impact your decision to buy the property.  If you can, try to avoid quitclaim deeds and only agree to them if you trust the seller or if you already know the details about the title.


What is “Property Ownership Transfer”?

Property ownership transfer is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from one party to another.

Why would I Need to Transfer Property Ownership?

Some common reasons for transferring property ownership include buying or selling a property, inheritance, gifting, divorce or separation, and business or investment purposes.

What are the Common Methods of Transferring Property Ownership?

Common methods of transferring property ownership include sale or purchase, inheritance, gift, court order, and business or investment purposes.

What are the Legal Requirements for Transferring Property Ownership?

Legal requirements may vary, but generally include a legally valid and executed deed or title, consideration or payment, compliance with local laws or regulations, proper identification or authorization of parties, a clear title, and the payment of taxes or fees.

What are the Potential Risks Associated with Property Ownership Transfers?

Potential risks may include legal disputes, conflicting claims to the property, disputes over terms and conditions, financial liabilities, and tax implications.


When a property’s title is not recorded correctly, there may be gaps in the ownership timeline. This is likely to cause concern about the property’s ownership because it raises the question of whether or not the seller has the right to transfer the property to a new owner.  It also calls to question if there are any outstanding debts against the property.

Investigating the title is an important step in the real estate transfer process. These investigations are usually conducted by your attorney, especially in cases in which you don’t know the seller. Whether you buy a property through a warranty deed or quitclaim deed, having a clear title should be your prime goal.