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A deed of conveyance that operates, in effect, as a release of whatever interest the grantor has in the property; sometimes called a release deed. The quitclaim deed contains similar language to a deed, with the important exception that rather than using the words grant and release, it contains language such as “remise, release, and quitclaim.” Grantors therefore do not warrant title or possession. Grantors only pass whatever interest they may have, if any. In effect, a grantor forever quits whatever claim he or she had, if in fact any existed.

The quitclaim deed transfers only whatever right, title, and interest the grantor had in the land at the time of the execution of the deed and does not pass to the grantee any title or interest subsequently acquired by the grantor. Thus the grantee cannot claim a right to any after-acquired title. (See after-acquired)
Although a quitclaim deed may not vest any title in the grantee, it is not inferior to the other types of deeds with respect to that which it actually conveys. For example, if a grantor executes and delivers a warranty deed to one person and subsequently executes and delivers a quitclaim deed to the same property to another person, the grantee under the quitclaim deed prevails over the grantee under the warranty deed, assuming he or she is first to record the deed.

A quitclaim deed is not commonly used to convey a fee but is usually restricted to releasing or conveying minor interests in real estate for the purpose of clearing title defects or clouds on the title. It may also be used to convey lesser interests such as life estates and to release such interests as a remainder or reversion.
A title searcher regards a quitclaim deed in the chain of title as a red flag, and most title companies will not guarantee titles derived out of a quitclaim deed—at least not without further explanation.

Quitclaim deeds also are often used between close relatives, such as when one heir is buying out the other, or where a seller is in such poor financial shape that it is inconsequential to the buyer whether he or she is getting any warranties.
Dearborn Real Estate Education
This "Word of the day" is excerpted from The Language of Real Estate, 6th Edition by John Reilly (published by Dearborn Real Estate Education, 2006 copyright). To purchase the complete book, with over 2800 key terms and definitions, or to browse through Dearborn's hundreds of other professional real estate titles, including Real Estate Technology Guide by Klein, Barnett, Reilly, click here.