North Carolina Quit Claim Deed Form

The North Carolina Quit Claim Deed is one of the primary types of Deed that can be drawn up in the state for the purpose of transferring ownership of a given piece real estate. There are a range of motivations that could be behind the decision for a Grantor to enter into this legal relationship with a Grantee such as:

  • Parting with a piece of property per the terms of a divorce settlement,
  • Wanting to gift property to their child,
  • Wanting to include a spouse’s name on the property title, or
  • Fixing a title defect or cloud on title.

Laws: North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 47B: “Real Property Marketable Title Act

Definition (§ 47B-8): State law establishes the right to execute a Quit Claim Deed in its definition of a “title transaction,” as follows:

“…Means any transaction affecting title to any interest in real property, including… title by…quitclaim deed.”

Recording standards: The North Carolina Associate of Registers of Deeds has published a resource called “Document Standards” which sets out minimum standards that must be upheld for real property instruments, such as a North Carolina Quit Claim Deed, to be duly recorded in the state.

The following table outlines the recording standards set by the North Carolina Register of Deeds:

North Carolina Register of Deeds Document Standards

Title of document:Must state the title of the document, e.g. "Quit Claim Deed," at the top of the first page below the three inch (3") blank margin
Blank margins at the top of on the first page:A minimum of three inches (3")
Blank margins on the left, right, and bottom of the first page:A minimum of half an inch (0.5") on each side
Blank margins on all subsequent pages: A minimum of half an inch (0.5") on each side
Paper size:Must be either eight and a half inches (8.5") by eleven inches (11"), or eight and a half inches (8.5") by fourteen inches (14")
Text and paper color:Typed or printed in black on white paper
Text size:A minimum of ten (10) points
Typed or printed text:Must only appear on one side of a page

Failure to comply with the standards will result in the Deed being rejected for recording, or the imposition of a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) fine.

Signing requirements (§ 47-38): The Grantor must sign the Quit Claim Deed and acknowledge it before a Notarial Officer. A certificate of acknowledgment must be used, of which can be in substantially the same form as that found in § 47-38. The Officer must sign their name on the form.

How to file a Quit Claim Deed in North Carolina (§ 47-18): All North Carolina Quit Claim Deeds need to be filed at the Registry of Deeds in the county where the real estate is located. The fees for this service may differ across North Carolina’s one hundred (100) counties, so the filer should refer to the relevant county’s website to find out the fee schedule. However, as a general guide, the North Carolina Associate of Registers of Deeds states that the recording fees are as follows:

  • Sixty-four dollars ($64.00) for the first thirty-five (35) pages, and
  • Four dollars ($4.00) for each additional page.

It is critical to be aware of the fact that North Carolina follows a “race recording statute” (§ 47-18).  Delaware and Louisiana are the only two other states that follow this type of recording statute. It is the strictest of the three recording statutes in the country (the other two types are called a “race-notice statute” and a “notice statute”).

In a race recording statute state like North Carolina, the first party to record a conveyance wins—simple as that. Winning in this context means that the party who records their conveyance, such as a Quit Claim Deed, will become the legal owner of the property. While other recording statutes also require “notice” to be given, a race recording statute only requires the recording of a valid conveyance to establish ownership. For this reason, the process is commonly referred to as a “race to the courthouse.”

To quote North Carolina’s state statute on the matter:

“…Instruments registered in the office of the register of deeds shall have priority based on the order of registration as determined by the time of registration, and… if instruments are registered simultaneously, then the instruments shall be presumed to have priority as determined by: (1) The earliest document number set forth on the  registered instrument. (2) The sequential book and page number set forth on the registered instrument if no document number is set forth on the registered instrument.”

To illustrate the implications of North Carolina’s race recording statute, consider the following hypothetical: Ryan executes a Quit Claim Deed on September 4 for a property located at 539 Valley St, Robbins, North Carolina. He plans to record the Deed the following week when he has more time. Sarah executes a Warranty Deed on September 7 for the very same property as Ryan (that is, a property located at 539 Valley St, Robbins, North Carolina). She knows that Ryan executed his Deed but did not record it. She records her Deed immediately after executing it.

Despite the fact that a) Sarah executed his Deed after Ryan and b) She had knowledge about Ryan’s Deed, Sarah will be legally entitled to the property at 539 Valley St, Robbins, North Carolina because she recorded her Deed first. By implication, Ryan will no longer be legally entitled to the property simply due to the fact he did not record his Deed quickly enough.

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