A California deed is a document used to legally transfer property from one party to another. California recognizes several classes of deed forms that may be used in various scenarios, providing the grantee (property buyer) with varying degrees of protection against encumbrances. The deed type selected will depend primarily on the nature of the grantor and grantee relationship.
Each deed must be notarized and formatted to the state’s specifications in order to be considered valid by the County Recorder’s Office; therefore, they should be carefully reviewed by all parties before their execution.
Deed of Reconveyance – This document is used to return the property title to a borrower when they have repaid their deed of trust in full.
Deed of Trust – This deed is used when a third party provides a borrower financing for a property, and the property’s title is transferred to a trustee until the lender is repaid.
Grant Deed – A property transfer instrument wherein the grantor assures there are no issues with the property title during their ownership but makes no guarantees of any issues prior owners may have had.
Interspousal Transfer Deed – Allows married parties to convey property interest from one spouse to another.
Quit Claim Deed – A grantor transfers whatever interest they have in the property to a grantee without guaranteeing valid ownership or a clean title.
Revocable Transfer on Death Deed – This allows a property owner to name a beneficiary to which the property in question will be transferred when they die.
- Statutes: Chapter 2. Transfer of Real Property
- Formatting: § 27361.5, § 27361.6 & § 27361.7
- Signing Requirements (Cal. Civ. Code § 1189): Notary Public
- Where to record (§ 1169): County Recorder’s Office
- Recording fees (§ 27361): Fees may not exceed $10 for the first page, and every additional page may not be more than $3. An additional fee of $75 may be charged if the deed is exempt from the documentary transfer tax.
- Megan’s Law (CIV § 2079.10a): Any sale of property with four (4) dwellings or less must contain a notice with specific language as described in § 2079.10a(a)(3), which details information regarding the database for registered sex offenders in the area.
- Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement (CIV § 1103(-1103.4)): This document must be provided to prospective buyers if the property is located in an area at risk for natural disasters or other natural hazards.
- Preliminary Change of Ownership Report: In accordance with § 480, transferees of real estate must file this document with any deed that changes a property’s ownership.
- Property Disclosure Statement (CIV § 1102 et. seq.): The seller must complete this document detailing the property’s condition and any known defects it may have.
- Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures and Carbon Monoxide Detector Notice (CIV § 1101.4 and HSC § 13260(-13263) + 17926): Sellers provide this notice to buyers to ensure that the property is in compliance with state law regarding carbon monoxide detectors and water-conserving plumbing.
- Water Heater and Smoke Detector Statement of Compliance (HSC § 19211 and HSC § 13113.8): Sellers may use this statement to confirm to the buyer that the property in question is in compliance with state laws regarding water heaters and smoke detectors.