Are you buying a piece of property with a long history? If so, you may run into unexpected problems with one often-overlooked — but vital — ingredient: the title. What sort of title issues can arise when a property has been bought, sold, or passed down for many years? Here are five of the most common title issues.
1. Errors on the Deed
One of the most common problems on a deed is a simple error. After all, every time a deed changed hands, an opportunity arose for a mistake to happen. This could be anything from misidentified property, to an incorrect address, to a name spelled wrong. Some errors are easy to get fixed while others will require additional documentation or court appearances.
An easement grants the right of some other party — usually adjacent neighbors or local utility companies — to use a portion of your land. Easements are common and useful, but sometimes a buyer won't know about an easement – or they may discover that some party is using a piece of the land without official easement rights and it's been allowed or ignored for some time.
3. Border Disputes
Deeds to older properties often run into confusion over what's actually included. Borders may have been informal and unenforced over the course of many years — and may not even be something neighbors remember any more. This is why it is good for a new owner to clearly establish their right to the land on the deed and defend it legally as early in their ownership as possible.
4. Missing Owners
Establishment of ownership can be a problem for deeds passed down through inheritance. Missing heirs, multiple co-owners, or will contests and disputes can tie up the rights to the property while inheritance issues are sorted out. Anyone considering a property sold by heirs should establish early whether or not the estate issues have been resolved.
5. Forgeries and Fakes
Believe it or not, you may actually deal with a deed that's intentionally unlawful. Forged deeds can pass between buyers and sellers a number of times before someone discovers they are fake. Even if the deed is real, the person offering it for sale must sometimes be verified as the true owner. Rooting out a false sale is difficult but vital.
Clearly, title problems for land owners can be varied and confusing. The average buyer may have no idea what to look for. The best resource if you want to purchase land with a long and potentially-problematic history is a real estate attorney in your state. Make an appointment with a real estate attorney today to learn how they can help you avoid these and other deed issues.
When you are faced with a serious legal matter, it only makes sense to work with an attorney who has the skillset to help. Attorneys are specially trained to manage everything from courtroom appearances to issues with paperwork, which is why you should have one on hand for when you are faced with an emergency. The purpose of this blog is to make it easier to understand when you should call a lawyer and how they can help. Read more on this blog to sort out everything you need to know to improve your legal prowess every single day, preventing problems.