When you decide you are ready to purchase a home, you more than likely a little overwhelmed by the process. Yes, the house shopping is fun, but putting in an offer, negotiating the sale and the closing process often are taxing. You likely are unfamiliar with a lot of the potential legal issues you may face in becoming a homeowner.
One potential legal problem is if you discover the home you want to buy has title issues. If there’s a problem with the title of a property, that can impact you gaining ownership of it. Or a title problem can affect the value of the property.
Some of the most common real estate title problems include the following:
- Unknown liens on the property: A bank or financing company has a past debt on the property that you don’t know about right away.
- Clerical errors in public records: Even simple mistakes in a property deed can be expensive to resolve.
- Unknown heirs: If you buy a property from someone who has died, a missing or unknown heir later could contest for ownership of the property.
- Illegal deeds. If a past deed for the property you purchase was made illegally, that can affect the current deed and ownership of the property.
- Boundary disputes. Often, property surveys may show different boundaries for the property you plan to buy. A neighbor could later dispute your property’s boundary and possibly claim ownership for part of the property.
- Unknown easements. Your property may include an unknown easement in it. This easement could allow another property owner, a business or a government entity to use that easement. The easement also could impact how you intend to use your property.
With a property title search and title insurance, you can help avoid having title problems like this affect your real estate purchase. With an attorney’s help, you can receive a title opinion on your property. With title insurance, you can have the money to help resolve any title issues an attorney discovers.
Ensuring a home or property you purchase has a clean title ultimately protects your ownership. You will know that no one else has a claim to the property or can pursue you to pay past debts. You can move forward and fully enjoy the home and land you buy.