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A quitclaim deed, or a warranty deed?

October 25, 2019
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dear Mr. Feichthaler,

I contacted the person that owns the lot next door to me, and offered to buy it from him. He agreed, and sent me a contract saying he would give me a quitclaim deed on the property for $10,000 cash. When I bought my house I was given a warranty deed. Can you explain the difference?

- Richard M.

Dear Richard,

A quitclaim deed, signed by the seller, provides the buyer with any and all rights he or she has to the property. The question then becomes, what rights does the owner actually possess? I could give you a quitclaim deed for the lot next door, but I would be giving you nothing of value. This is why it is vital you work with a reputable lawyer or title company to handle the transfer of title. For a moment, let's assume he does actually own the property. The seller gives you the quitclaim deed, you give them $10,000. You then find out the seller is in huge trouble with the IRS, and there is a lien on the property for a half million dollars. He gave you the property subject to all claims on it, including this enormous lien. So, what do you actually own with your quitclaim deed in this example? Nothing of value. You should always demand that title is provided clear of liens, and that an owner's title insurance policy is furnished.

A warranty deed is the seller's promise that they do, in fact, own the property, and that they would be potentially be responsible for any problems with title later. This protection should always be sought, in addition to the owner's title policy mentioned earlier.

In conclusion, do not send anyone money for a quitclaim deed without determining, at the very least, what liens may be on the property, and that the person selling it to you is the actual owner. Ideally, you will work with someone that will protect your interests in this purchase.

As a footnote, once you do acquire this property, the two properties can be combined with the tax collector into one parcel, and you can claim homestead protection on both your home and lot.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 30 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Historical Museum, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for over 18 years, and they have four children together. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

Mr. Feichthaler can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or (239) 542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.

 
 
 

 

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