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This is a relatively easy process, but the proper steps must be taken.
If there is a mortgage on the property, you should speak to the mortgage
company for any type of requirements they have on the process, as there will be
a transfer of one half of ownership in the home to your partner. If there is a
mortgage, then your partner's credit rating, etc. could come into play.
The Sacramento County Public Law Library website has a page on "Deed Basics"
which covers the basic process of where you go from there.
"This guide offers an overview of resources available through the library on
the topic of deeds. The listed materials provide practical advice and sample
forms and documents for the recording of deeds as well as resources for more
Common deeds in California are: (1) grant deeds, which transfer title
outright;(2) quitclaim deeds, which transfer any claim or potential
claim the grantor
has on the property ..."
You are going to use a quitclaim deed or a grant deed to add your partners name
to the deed, in your case, by assigning 50% ownership to your partner.
The Nolo website describes both of these documents.
"I'm confused by all the different kinds of deeds -- quitclaim deed, grant
deed, warranty deed. Does it matter which kind of deed I use?
Probably not. Usually, what's most important is the substance of the deed: the
description of the property being transferred and the names of the old and new
owners. Here's a brief rundown of the most common types of deeds:
A quitclaim deed transfers whatever ownership interest you have in the
property. It makes no guarantees about the extent of your interest.
A grant deed transfers your ownership and implies certain promises -- that the
title hasn't already been transferred to someone else or been
encumbered, except as set out in the deed. This is the most commonly
used kind of deed, in most states."
It would appear that a specifically worded grant deed would work in your case.
You probably would want to place wording that covers an existing mortgage, if
any, so as to make clear those responsibilities, and that the grant deed is
indeed transfering 50% ownership in the property to your partner, and you are
retaining the other 50% ownership.
If there is a question as to ownership interest, then a quitclaim deed might be
the better approach.
Also on the Sacramento County Public Law Library website are sample quitclaim
and grant deed forms in "Word" format, so you can reference them as examples.
Quitclaim sample form.
Grant deed sample form.
The Sacramento County Public Law Library "Deed Basics" page continues.
"Deeds must be notarized and 'recorded' (filed) with the local county recorder,
along with a Preliminary Change of Ownership form, to be fully effective."
The Kinsey Law Offices website has a sample of the "Preliminary Change of
Ownership" (PCOR) form mentioned above.
Please note that on the sample quitclaim and grant deed forms referenced above,
there is mention of a "documentary transfer tax," for which you should be
exempt, as this will be a "gift" of property to your partner.
The County of Sacramento website page on the subject covers this exemption.
"What is documentary transfer tax?
A tax imposed on each recorded document in which real property is sold.
When is realty considered to not have been sold?
The most used example is a bona fide gift. This exclusion is commonly used when
adding or removing a co-signor from real property. Gift must be given as the
explanation of no tax due."
There will be some fees for filing all of the above, but those should not be
all that much.
The above process might be somewhat daunting, so you should not hesitate to get
a lawyer involved at any point at which you might have questions when it comes
to your specific county, etc.
If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.
Google search on: California deeds
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