More goes into buying a new home than hiring a realtor, finding a property, making an offer and moving in. One of the most important steps in the home buying process is a title search. A real estate title is a document that states who has legal ownership of a property. Once a sales contract has been accepted, a title search is performed to determine if the there are any problems with property ownership. Seems pretty straight forward but title searches bring to light liens, past ownership claims and human errors. These issues need to be corrected prior to the sale of the property.
However, sometimes title issues arise after the sale of the property and can leave the new homeowner in a bind. Title insurance protects the property based on the limits of the insurance policy. The policy is purchased at closing and is effective throughout the duration of ownership. A new policy will be issued for the next owner. Some examples of title issues include:
- Illegal or forged deeds – prior titles that included false information or fabricated documents
- Liens are a claim that creditors place against a property in order to receive payment from an owner. Common liens are for unpaid construction or contractor services or unpaid taxes.
- Survey disputes – a survey of the property is performed before the sale of a property but it is possible for different surveys to exist showing differences in property lines and ownership.
- Newly discovered will/missing heirs– states can sell a property if there is no will or apparent heir at the time of death. However, a will or heir can come forward at a future date to try to claim the property.
- Errors can occur when reporting titles into public records.
If a title claim occurs, the property becomes clouded and generally not able to be sold, transferred or encumbered until the claim is resolved and the cloud on the title is cleared.
Home buyers can hire a real estate attorney to protect themselves throughout the home buying process. The attorney will review the terms of the sale prior to signing the contract, the title and ensure that all steps in the closing are in the best interest of their client.
Ronald A. Luzim learns and understands the unique needs of each client and offers personal service for each case. He is a former estate and tax attorney with the IRS has been practicing law since 1974 and specializes not only in estate planning and real estate but also is a Coral Springs probate lawyer, Coral Springs bankruptcy lawyer and Coral Springs family lawyer. In addition as a practicing state certified mediator, Ronald brings experience, expertise and empathy to your legal matter. Please contact his Coral Springs office at 954-755-1500 for assistance in protecting yourself, family and property.
There is no substitute for experience.