What Is a Florida Quitclaim Deed?
A quitclaim deed in Florida is a legal document that transfers whatever title that a grantor has in real property to a grantee. If the grantor has good and valid legal title, free and clear of all encumbrances, then the Florida quitclaim deed will transfer it. However, if the grantor does not have good title to the property, then the quitclaim deed may be ineffective.
The general rule of thumb is that you cannot transfer more than you have. In other words, if one attempts to transfer full legal title to a piece of property when they do not actually have good legal title, then the deed will be ineffective.
- A quitclaim deed transfers all ownership from one person or entity (grantor) to another (grantee).
- A quitclaim only transfers whatever the grantor has. If the grantor has less than full legal title, the quitclaim deed cannot transfer more than that.
- A quitclaim deed does not contain any warranties of title.
Florida Quitclaim Deed vs. Warranty Deed
Both a Florida quitclaim deed and a warranty deed transfer an ownership interest in property to someone else. However, unlike a warranty deed, a quitclaim deed does not provide any guarantees, or warranty, that the grantor has good, valid title to the property.
Because of the lack of guarantee, a quit claim deed in Florida is typically used to transfer real property to a family member or one’s own LLC. Transfer of real estate between unrelated people should almost never be done via quitclaim deed.
The warranty deed comes with much more inherent protection than the quit claim deed in Florida.
How to File a Quitclaim Deed in Florida
To file, or record, a quitclaim deed, you first have to enter the relevant details in a quitclaim deed form. In Florida, quitclaim deeds should have the name and address of both the grantor (person giving the property) and the grantee (person receiving the property). There should also be a designation if the property is the homestead of the grantor.
Ensure to include spousal signatures if appropriate, even if the grantor’s spouse does not own the property.
Then, you need to take the quitclaim deed to the county comptroller’s office for the county where the property is located.
The comptroller’s office will charge you a small fee for the recording. However, expect a larger fee if there is a mortgage on the property.
When you record the quitclaim deed in Florida, the office will enter a copy of the deed into the county’s official records. The original will be returned to you.
Important: Make sure the quitclaim deed is properly drafted. Just because the county accepts your document for recording does not mean that the county reviews the deed for legal sufficiency.
Quit Claim Deed Rules and Requirements
In Florida, the requirements for a quit claim deed are outlined by section 695.26 of Florida law as follows:
- Name and address of the person who prepared the deed.
- Name and address of the grantor (person transferring the property)
- Name and address of the grantee (person receiving the property)
- Signature of the grantor (but not the grantee)
- Signatures of two witnesses
- Signature of a notary
Quit Claim Deed Form
Several non-attorney form generator websites offer quit claim deed forms for purchase after entering in some basic information. These online services are cheaper than hiring an attorney.
An online form generator site could be a good idea if you know exactly how a quit claim deed works and have no questions that you need answered. However, some people find that the additional cost of having an attorney prepare a quit claim deed is worth it for the peace of mind that the deed is prepared properly and so that there is an opportunity to ask the attorney any questions about the deed.
Transferring Property After Divorce With a Quitclaim Deed
Often as part of a divorce judgment or marital settlement agreement, one ex-spouse must transfer or quitclaim their marital property to the other ex-spouse. This transferring of property is frequently done via a quitclaim deed.
The quitclaim deed transfers all interests that one spouse has in the property to the other spouse. In doing so, the transferring spouse complies with the terms of the divorce judgment.
Regardless of which spouse prepares the deed, the deed must be signed by the transferring spouse. The receiving spouse does not need to sign it.
Tip: County recording fees for quitclaim deeds are often less if being transferred pursuant to a divorce judgment.
Can You Transfer Property with a Quitclaim Deed if You Have a Mortgage?
You can always use a quitclaim deed in Florida, even if you have a mortgage. However, the mortgage and the loan do not transfer with the quitclaim deed.
In other words, the grantor will still owe the lender on the mortgage even after transferring the property. What’s worse is that the lender could call the entire loan due if they discover that the grantor has transferred the property without first paying off the mortgage.
In many cases, however, the lender is unlikely to call the loan due or discover that the property has been transferred if the grantee still makes payments on the mortgage and if there is no escrow account.
A grantee can always refinance the debt or get their own loan to pay off the original mortgage debt.
Can You Make a Quit Claim Deed in Florida After Death?
You cannot make a quitclaim deed effective after your death. Once you fully execute a quitclaim deed, the intended effect is immediate (although it still needs to be recorded).
However, a lady bird deed can often achieve the same goal. With a lady bird deed, the grantor keeps the property during the grantor’s lifetime, with title transferring to a grantee upon the owner’s death.
Cost of a Quitclaim Deed in Florida
You do not have to be an attorney to prepare a Florida quit claim deed. Without an attorney, your costs for the deed would only be the recording fees that the county comptroller charges.
If you have any concerns about what you need to include in a quit claim deed to make it valid, you could hire an attorney to draft the deed for you. A typical fee will be $200 to $300 for the preparation of the deed by an experienced attorney.
Quitclaim Deed FAQs
How does a quit claim deed work in Florida?
A quitclaim deed in Florida transfers whatever title the grantor has in real property to a grantee. No warranty is given with the transfer. If the grantee does not have good title to the property, the grantee may end up with nothing.
Once the quitclaim deed is signed, the deed is recorded in the county public records.
Why would someone do a quit claim deed?
What are the disadvantages of a quit claim deed?
The disadvantage of a quit claim deed is that it lacks all of the various warranties that come with a warranty deed. A third party should never accept real estate transferred via quit claim deed.
Does a quitclaim deed give you ownership?
A quitclaim deed transfers ownership of the property as long as the person signing the quitclaim deed has proper ownership. The quitclaim deed cannot transfer anything more than the grantor has to begin with.
If there are any issues with the title while held by the grantor, the grantee will have those same issues.
Can you sell your house with just a quit claim deed?
While technically a property owner could sell their house with a quit claim deed, it almost never happens. A title company and lender will insist on the use of a warranty deed.