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California Deed Forms – Quit Claim, Warranty, and Special Warranty

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The California deeds are forms that allow for the transfer of real property from a seller, or the “grantor”, to a buyer, or the “grantee”. The documents vary due to the different scenarios that surround the conveyance. Grant deeds are used when the seller warrants that he or she owns the property and that no others have a claim to it. Deeds of trust are used in connection with mortgage documents, where a lender puts on record that they have an interest in the property while the homeowner owes mortgage payments. A quitclaim deed is a deed that is used to transfer whatever interest the seller has in the property with no guarantee as to what that interest might be. Use This Guide on how to complete and record a deed in the State.

California Recording Requirements – Use to ensure all the details of the deed are completed before filing.

Laws§ 27361

Preliminary Change of Ownership (Form BOE-502-A) – Required to be filed with any deed unless the transferee is not locally assessed in accordance with Revenue and Taxation Code Section 480.

Recording – All deeds must be filed with the County Recorder’s Office.

Signing (§ 27287) – Must be signed in the presence of a notary.

Deeds by Type

Grant Deed – Similar to a warranty deed in other states. By using a grant deed the grantor (seller) is asserting that he or she has not transferred the property to another and that there are not any liens or encumbrances on the property.

Deed of Trust (Trust Deed) – More commonly known as a ‘Mortgage’, allows an owner to obtain a loan, or the ‘Deed of Trust’, with the property to act as the security of the loan. Just like a mortgage, if the buyer does not pay the real estate may be foreclosed on and the ownership would revert to the payee.

Quit Claim Deed – is used to transfer the interest that a seller has in a property. The interest should be ascertained by doing a title search because a quitclaim does not guarantee anything other than the grantor releases all claims he or she may have to the property

Revocable TOD Deed – this type of deed is used to make sure your property goes to certain beneficiaries upon your death.

California Property Search

In order to understand the interest that you are purchasing in a property, it is important to complete a title search which is researching the title transfers in the past. You will need to go to the recorder website for the county in which the property is located.

NETR Online has a list of all the county recorders and their websites. Each county has a different way of displaying property searches, but in most cases, you will need the address of the property or the name of the grantor in order to commence the search.

Here is Orange County’s search instructions as an example:

Step 1 – Go to the Orange County Recorder’s Office website:

CA title search

Step 2 – Click on “Services” and then “Property Documents” and then “obtaining Official Record Copies”:

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Step 3 – You will be brought to this page where you click on the “click here” link located in the center of the page:

CA title search3



Step 4 – You will then be brought to the database page:

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Step 5 – In the left hand column, click on “search” and then click on “official records”:

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Step 6 – You will then have the option of searching by name, document number, document type of recording date. Click on your preferred search and enter in the information as directed to obtain documents.