When I’m retained by clients to convey real property, such as a one-family home to a family member, I’m often asked if I will be preparing a quitclaim deed. I tell my clients that in the New York Metropolitan area, the type of deed customarily used to convey real property, whether to a third party in an arm’s length transaction or to a family member, is a “Bargain and Sale Deed with Covenants against Grantor’s Acts.” Why then do I commonly hear clients refer to “Quitclaim Deeds”?
The New York State Real Property Law recognizes several types of deeds to be used to convey real property. A quitclaim deed is among the recognized forms. Nevertheless, the customary practice among local attorneys in New York will determine the appropriate deed to be used. While there is no case law or statute prohibiting the use of a quitclaim deed to convey a home in the New York Metropolitan area, its use would be unusual and could raise questions down the road.
Other states do use the term “Quitclaim Deed” to describe the deed typically used to convey real property, which may partially explain people’s familiarity with the term. The term “Quitclaim Deed” is also much easier to remember than “Bargain and Sale Deed with Covenants against Grantor’s Acts” which is quite a mouth-full. To borrow a phrase from the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil, who famously said “All politics is local,” all real estate customs are local, especially the choice of a deed to use in conveying real property.