What these people on your other board are suggesting is that you circumvent the normal way of acquiring a property, and, by doing so, save yourself money. Obviously, if you don’t use a real estate agent and don’t get title insurance you will save money but…what are the costs if problems develop in the future?
As to your remarks about warranty deeds - Warranty deeds are not common in California because of the widespread use of title companies. Under a warranty deed the grantor (the owner) guarantees that he/she has good title and agrees to defend the title and to be liable if the title is defective. A title company essentially does the same thing but they have more resources to examine the title and more money to pay if there are problems later on.
You should consider getting title insurance. Among other things included in the coverage of a standard title policy (California Land Title Association - CLTA policy) the title company will insure:
- Against forgery
- Against lack of capacity of the grantor (what if the owner has been adjudicated insane or was under the influence of mind altering chemicals when the deal was made?)
- Against an undisclosed spousal interest (there could be a wife or husband with community property interests)
- Against failure of delivery of a prior deed
- Against federal estate tax liens
This type of policy may cost you $1,000 or more but it would be worth it if legal issues come forward in the future. For example, in California a person generally has three years from the date of discovery to file legal action. Suppose that there was a wife or husband married to the owner when the property was first acquired. If, four years after you buy the property the former spouse discovers the transaction, they have three years to contest the deal – they has superior rights under the community property law.
Under a quitclaim deed the grantor transfers only the interest that the grantor has in the property and makes no warranties of title. Quitclaim deeds are usually used to clear title from grantors who have a possible or disputed interest.
Anyone can issue a quitclaim deed any time they want to. Again, a quitclaim deed only transfers their interest - it makes no guarantees.
You can give me a quitclaim deed for all of the property owned by Universal Studios in California but this deed is of no value since you probably have no legal interest in that property.
If you can buy the property for a few thousand dollars I would suggest that you get an agent to write the offer. Offer to pay the agent a small sum, say $400-$500. By doing this, a lot of the legal responsibility has moved to the agent’s brokerage. If there are problems later you have cause for legal action against the brokerage and he has errors and omission insurance.
Next I would get a title policy. This is insurance against the unknowns that may pop up in the future (i.e. tradesmen currently working on the property who have a right to file a lien, etc.).
I don’t understand what you mean by “trump”. Certain liens have a higher priority than others but paying off a tax lien does not get rid of the other liens.