When starting your search for a new home, it’s important to make sure that the person who owns the property you’re interested in is, in fact, the rightful owner. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many sales fall through because the seller doesn’t have the right to sell the property.
This issue can be avoided by having your real estate attorney or title company conduct a property title search, to prevent hidden title hazards. These typically take place after there is an agreement between the buyer and seller. It is then the job of a real estate closing agent, whether a real estate attorney or title company, to ensure that the legal paperwork is in order.
What happens if a property title search yields unexpected results? What are some of the most common issues that these searches reveal? Read on to learn more.
Common Hazards in Property Title Searches
The following issues are the most common ones found when conducting a title search:
Boundary Line Issues
This sounds like a relatively small problem, but it has the potential to escalate into a much bigger issue when it comes to selling the property later. This happens when surveys differ over how far the property extends, which is critical for a homeowner to know. Depending on the land, this may need to be settled at local or state levels.
Bankruptcies or Judgments
This can be problematic for a new owner of a property if the judgment remains on the property beyond the original owner. You don’t want to end up owing the money from that judgment, on top of the down payment. It is your closing agent’s job to make sure that any such matters that cloud your title be corrected or removed.
A Newly Discovered Will
This happens more than you think. Every so often, a deceased relative’s will reveals their wishes for the property, which may include keeping it in the family. This obviously disrupts the chain of ownership and will halt the final transaction.
With so many documents involved in buying and selling homes over many years, there is a possibility that someone may forge critical signatures that can damage the selling process. This practice is obviously illegal but still happens.
Liens Or Debts
Not all sellers are financially stable. If they made renovations or additions to the property that they were not able to pay for, the result is outstanding debts, otherwise called “liens.” That debt can be passed on to the next owner in certain situations. Comprehensive title searches can identify this hidden title hazard before you sign any binding documents.
Clerical Errors in Public Record
The employees who handle public and clerical records are only human, after all. That means they are not exempt from making mistakes every now and then. This could mean filing or listing errors, or errors in paperwork that take more time to correct. In any case, this issue should turn up in a property title search.
A failed marriage can have more than emotional repercussions; there can be financial ones as well if one spouse does not give permission to the other to sell their shared property. Such issues ought to be resolved with their lawyers, but they aren’t always. The process of selling the home can get derailed or halted permanently.
Handin Law is a reputable law firm serving Coral Springs. Our many legal services include attorneys specializing in real estate, along with probate, titles, and other issues pertaining to home ownership and personal possessions. Gary Handin is an experience attorney with more than 50 years practicing law. He owns and operates Florida Home Title Company for almost three decades, To learn more about our legal services, call us at 954-796-9600 and speak with an experience member of our team today.