What Does It Mean to Transfer the Deed of a House to a Relative?

To change property ownership, you need to file a quitclaim deed.

To change property ownership, you need to file a quitclaim deed.

Ownership of property is often a joint affair. For married couples, there is usually a deed of trust showing both parties as owners on the property. In other cases, an entire family may own a house or a piece of land together. Ownership of property can be changed and modified using a document called a quitclaim deed. This process is relatively simple, but the consequences of ownership change are significant.

Transfer to a Relative

Transferring ownership can mean a couple of different things. It is possible to transfer ownership to a relative and at the same time maintain your own ownership; in this case, you and your relative would be co-owners of the house. However, you can also transfer ownership entirely to your relative, removing your name and giving your relative full ownership rights. The critical difference is in the way you fill out the quitclaim deed.

Quitclaim Deeds

A quitclaim deed is not a contract in the general sense. Rather, the deed is the actual transfer of ownership on the property. This is called conveyance. If you are the current owner and your relative is the prospective owner, his name would be listed under "grantee" and you, as the owner, would be listed under "grantor." It is important to have a notary public witness the signing and notarize the quitclaim deed.

Warranty Deeds

The warranty deed is the assurance given by the "grantor," or the current owner, that the property is free of liens and attachments. It is to assure the "grantee," usually when the house is being sold, that the house is free and clear of all debts and liens. This is different from the quitclaim deed because the warranty deed does not represent conveyance; no ownership transfer takes place when this deed is completed.


Once a quitclaim deed is recorded at the local registry of deeds, the transfer of ownership is complete and permanent. However, ownership of the property can always be modified. In order to do so, however, it requires the consent of all parties now listed as owners on the property. Therefore, if your relative was added to your house as an owner, you must obtain his consent before adding another party to the house in the future.

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