Adding or Changing Names on Real Property
Before you read on: this page only gives information about updating ownership on property owned by a living owner.
If the person whose name appears as an owner on the home/land that you want to update has passed away, you may want to review:
I Want to Change the Name(s) on My Home.
Where Do I Start?
The best self-help resource that describes how living owners can add or remove names on real property in the State of California was prepared by the Sacramento County Law Library.
The guide below contains step-by-step instructions that walk you through how you would add an owner or change owners on real property. It even features detailed illustrated guides that show how to complete deeds, line by line.
CLICK HERE TO REVIEW SACRAMENTO COUNTY LAW LIBRARY’S EXCELLENT SELF-HELP GUIDE ON HOW TO USE DEEDS TO UPDATE TITLE TO REAL PROPERTY.
Why Make This Page if You Are Just Linking
Us to Sacramento County Law Library?
Sacramento County Law Library does incredible work preparing its self-help materials, but their materials are (understandably) written for residents of Sacramento County, above all. This does not mean you should not use it – again, this is the best information guide we have found on this topic.
Their guide includes vital information about important considerations you should make before you change ownership on real property, and you should read the entire guide at least once through before you begin working on your deed. It includes samples of each type of deed they describe, and shows you how to fill them out line by line.
But if you are a Kern County resident, you will need some information that is not present in the guide we posted above.
What Information Will I Need For My Property
in Kern County, Specifically?
Where to Record?
The most important difference from Sacramento County to Kern is that if your piece of property is located in Kern County, you will be recording your deed with the Kern County Recorder’s Office. When you read the guide above, it tells you where to find the Sacramento County Recorder’s Office – DO NOT TAKE YOUR DEED THERE.
Wherever your parcel of property is in Kern County, you will record your deed with the Kern County Recorder, which is located at 1530 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA, 93301.
Since you have read the guide prepared by Sacramento County Law Library, you now know that Step 1 in this process is getting a copy of your current deed. You can get this from the same place you will record your new deed: the Kern County Recorder’s Office.
Before you begin writing a new deed, you will absolutely need to get a copy of your current deed, so that you can retrieve key information from it. The staff of the Kern County Recorder’s Office can assist you in getting a copy of your current deed – The staff of the Kern County Law Library cannot.
If you want to visit the Kern County Law Library to work on your deed in person, your first stop should be at the Kern County Recorder’s Office to retrieve the most recently recorded deed for your parcel of property.
It would be most helpful if you take along your property tax bill to use the APN to find your parcel of property. If you do not have that, you can ask a staff member of the Recorder’s Office to help use one of their computer kiosks to search with other information.
What to Record?
A deed, and a preliminary change of ownership report.
In all 58 counties in California, deeds can be used to add or change names on real property. A grant deed or quitclaim deed you use in Kern County can be used in Sacramento County, San Diego County, etc.
However, every county has its own Preliminary Change of Ownership Report that you will complete alongside the deed you select to update the title to your property.
Where Can I Get a Blank Deed?
If you visit the Kern County Law Library, you can print a blank deed you may use to change names on your piece of property (for fifteen cents per page, cash only).
You can also download them from this page.
What Else Should I Know?
Changes to ownership of real property are extremely significant, and often deal with some of the most valuable assets a person will ever own.
The kinds of complications which can come from errors in changes to title of real property can be substantial, can cost money to fix, and may not even be obvious until many years have elapsed.
If you are at all uncomfortable drafting your own deed, you should at least consider a consultation with an attorney who works in the area of real property. The laws around real property are some of the most complex there are, and there is good reason to consider a consultation with an attorney who can help you understand the full significance of this process.
If you visit www.kernbar.org, you can find a listing of attorneys who work in Kern County with whom you may consult if you want specialized assistance drafting your legal paperwork.