Can I avoid the realty transfer fee on this house?


Q. I am having trouble calculating what the transfer fee would be for a quitclaim deed from 2020. My ex-wife is coming off of the title due to a divorce. The consideration on the actual deed says $1, however, I don’t know if the county will accept it like this. The remaining balance on the property is $212,173 and the value is $300,000. What should I expect for the realty transfer fee?
— Starting over

A. We’re glad you asked.

First, you should really speak with a real estate attorney to discuss what to expect based on all the facts of your case.

A Realty Transfer Fee, or RTF, is a fee assessed at a real estate closing through the title company when the title of the property is changing, said Joseph Sarnecki, a certified financial planner with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

But there are exemptions.

It sounds like your agreement with your ex may be a quitclaim deed.

“A quitclaim deed is an agreement that the transfer will not be subjected to an RTF,” Sarnecki said. “A quitclaim deed basically takes a name off the title and instead of transferring, they are just dropped from the deed. This agreement is usually settled when a divorce is finalized.”

To claim a full exemption, you need to complete Section 4 of Form RTF-1, he said.

“Exemptions include Exemption (a)m where the property changed hands for less than $100, or Exception (b), for circumstances when there is a divorce,” he said.

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This story was originally published on Sept. 18, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.