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What Is a Quit Claim Deed?

Posted on in Real Estate

Florida real estate attorneyIn a residential real estate transaction, the deed is the legal instrument by which real property is conveyed. Put simply, the deed is the paper that shows who owns the house. What you may not be aware of is that there are different types of deeds that offer varying levels of security to the buyer. At the very bottom of the list is the Quit Claim Deed. If anyone offers you this type of deed, you might want to rethink your decision to buy.

In a Quit Claim Deed, all the seller is promising to give you is any ownership interest the seller may - or may not - have over the property being sold. It guarantees very little and could open you up to all manner of unpleasant surprises in the future. There is enormous risk involved in dealing with a Quit Claim Deed. Our attorneys can help guide you into a much safer real estate purchase. 

What Promises Does the Seller Make in a Quit Claim Deed?

The short answer is, “almost nothing.” When using a Quit Claim Deed, the seller is not even offering any guarantee that he has any ownership interest in the property he is selling you at all. Quit Claim Deeds are almost exclusively used when there is a serious title search issue and the possibility of other valid claimants cannot be ruled out. 

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Broward County residential real estate attorneySelling a house may be one of the biggest transactions you are ever involved in. In the current housing market, your house is likely worth much more than it was when you originally bought it. You want to make the best possible profit from selling your house, but you also must be careful about the liabilities associated with a real estate transaction.

Everything from using the right type of deed to reading the entire contract before selling is very important in a transaction this large. Contracts for real estate sales can be incredibly complex, and you will want to make sure that you understand exactly what you are agreeing to. Whether the house you are selling is your own personal single-family home or a duplex you have been renting out, having an attorney assist you with the sale could protect you from liability issues in the future. 

How an Attorney Can Help With Your Real Estate Sale

Most of what an attorney does in a real estate transaction involves thoroughly checking for any potential issues that could come back to bite you. Some ways a real estate lawyer can help when you are selling a house include: 

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Fort Lauderdale real estate contract lawyerWhether you are buying or selling real estate, it is extremely important that you and the other party are both on the same page entirely. Litigation often results when the buyer and seller inadvertently fail to come to a complete agreement about who has which rights, responsibilities, and liabilities. Real estate agents may not have a full and complete understanding of all the legal nuances of a contract for the sale of real property. Having your own attorney represent you during the due diligence period and sales process can help protect you from unforeseen liabilities or contract disputes in the future. Working with a real estate attorney rather than just a real estate agent offers a number of benefits when you are entering into this type of major agreement. 

What Should be Included in Real Estate Sale Documents?

An experienced real estate lawyer will understand the complete checklist of items, terms, and concerns that need to be addressed before or at closing. A real estate sale contract should cover issues like: 

  • Included property - When the buyer moves in, which major appliances will be there? Are the refrigerator and laundry machines included in the sale, or will the seller be taking them with him? A good contract should clearly specify which items attached to the home are or are not included. You should both also be aware of any potential sales tax burdens associated with these items. 
  • Financing concerns - As a seller, you do not want to agree to a sale only for the buyer to spend the next six months trying to get a mortgage loan. Your contract should include requirements for the buyer to make reasonable efforts to secure a loan within a reasonable timetable. As a buyer, you do not want to commit to purchasing a property only to realize that you will not be able to get a reasonable loan. 
  • HOAs and other associations - If the property is under the control of a Homeowners’ Association, a condominium association, or any other type of civil control, this should be explicitly discussed in the contract. 
  • Disclosures - Under Florida state law, the seller of real estate has an affirmative duty to disclose any defects that they know about or reasonably should know about. An attorney should review the contract to ensure that any mandatory disclosures are included so the buyer has full awareness of any issues, and the seller is protected from future liability based on a failure to disclose information. 

These are just a few of the intricate details that should be encompassed in a contract for the sale of real property. Buyers and sellers alike can benefit from legal representation. 

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Broward County residential real estate lawyerBuying a house is a big deal. For most people, it is the single largest purchase they will ever personally make in their lifetime. It also comes with a lot of risks. The last thing a new homeowner wants is to discover that there is a restriction on their land usage they did not know about, or another person with a defensible claim to their new property. These are not terribly uncommon examples of some things that have the potential to go wrong from a legal standpoint during a real estate transaction. Working with an attorney throughout the home buying process can substantially mitigate these risks. 

What Are the Benefits of Working With an Attorney in Real Estate Transactions?

An attorney can do more to protect your interests than a real estate agent alone. Buying a house is much more complex than buying a car, or new furniture. It is important that some research is done into the title history and any possible restrictions that may be attached. Benefits of using an attorney include: 

  • Document review - At closing, you will be asked to sign off on probably hundreds of pages. Contracts for the sale of a house can be incredibly complex and rife with legal jargon or dated language that can be difficult to sort through and understand. Having a lawyer review everything before you sign it can give you peace of mind that you know exactly what you are agreeing to and there will be no big surprises later. 
  • Title search - Especially if the house you are buying is older and has more than one previous owner, the title search is extremely important. During the title search, any potential problems with the title you will receive are likely to be revealed. Issues that come up may include things like a question about the validity of the seller’s title or the existence of another person who may have an interest in the property that needs to be resolved before a clear sale can take place. Any liens that could get in the way of the sale or affect your usage of the property later are also likely to come up.
  • Deed drafting - The type of deed that is used to convey the property is extremely important, as is the particular language used in the deed. The sort of default option used by many real estate agencies may not be in your best interest. In many cases, having an attorney draft the deed, or at least be involved in it, can offer you an extra layer of protection. 

Whether you are buying your very first home or just moving to a new place, being represented by an attorney can offer you security in your big purchase. 

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