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California Deed Forms

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Updated February 06, 2024

California deed forms allow for the transfer of real property from a seller (“grantor”) to a buyer (“grantee”). The documents vary due to the different scenarios that surround the conveyance. Grant deeds are used when the seller warrants that they own 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. This state guide provides instructions on how to record a deed.


Deed Types (4)

Grant Deed – Similar to a warranty deed in other states, which guarantees that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property.

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Deed of Trust (Trust Deed) – This form allows an owner to obtain a loan with the property to act as the security of the loan.

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Quit Claim Deed – This deed is used to transfer the interest that a seller has in a property without any guarantee.

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Revocable TOD Deed – This deed is used to ensure that the property is transferred to certain beneficiaries upon the owner’s death.

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California Property Search (6 steps)

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.

California Public Records page showing list of counties

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

Step 2

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

OCgov.com page showing dropdown menu for obtaining official record copies

Step 3

Click on the “click here” link located in the center of the page:

page showing info on obtaining official record copies

Step 4

You will then be brought to the database page:

Grantor/Grantee search page on RecorderWorks

Step 5

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

Grantor/Grantee search on RecorderWorks

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.


  1. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 480
  2. Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1170, 1169)
  3. Cal. Civ. Code § 1189
  4. Cal. Gov. Code § 27361