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In Georgia, there are 3 general types of deeds used to transfer property or titles: Warranty deed (also called General Warranty), Limited warranty deed, and Quitclaim deed.
Warranty and limited warranty deeds are usually the most reliable because they offer a “covenant” proving that the land is indeed owned by the “grantor.” However, they are harder to obtain and often take more time to negotiate. Quitclaim deeds are sometimes used to transfer property as well as clear titles. Sellers tend to be more willing to transfer property through quitclaim deeds.
But don’t be fooled.
Sometimes it’s best to take things slow and go through the proper channels. Quitclaim deeds offer no warranty that the grantor has any rights to transfer the property.
Could you use quitclaim deeds and still feel protected? Of course — if you act with due diligence.
Before accepting a quitclaim deed, it is best to be educated on the subject and get the proper protection of your title by getting things such as title insurance. Sometimes, the situation can get sticky, so it’s best to be prepared.
For example, let's say a seller offers you a quitclaim deed to purchase a house. You determine through your due diligence that the seller isn’t actually the owner, and it is your responsibility to find the true owner in order to get the rights to the house.
In the past, quitclaim deeds gave complete ownership to the holder after 7 years of uncontested use — even if the person who gave you the deed wasn’t the real owner. Now, it’s not as simple. More documentation than just the quitclaim deed is required to be recognized as the official owner of property. See § 44-14-210 and § 48-4-44 of the Official Code of Georgia to learn more about quitclaim deed laws.
Deeds in general can be tricky, so it's best to seek the help of a professional before writing that check.
About the Author
Bethany McDaniel is the Editorial Director for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with degrees in Visual Communication and History.