As a property owner, you likely know that a clear property title is a critical way to ensure that you can buy prospective real estate or sell a property you currently own. Conducting property title searches on any future real estate opportunity is an essential component to the process of buying a home; however, at times, problems with the title may arise, making assistance from a title company and lawyer important. Identifying title problems with legal support can help prospective buyers determine how to move forward and whether issues with the title can be rectified promptly. 

Why is a property title search so important?

As stated initially, property title searches are a common component of the sale of real estate. Whether you are selling real estate or buying your first home, title searches are essential on both ends. The seller will want to ensure that the title is clear before they move forward with listing the property. A prospective buyer will want to conduct a title search to confirm that the person selling the home is the same. Before purchasing property and signing the closing documents, the title must be clear of any outstanding judgments or delinquent taxes. However, keep in mind that just because challenges may be present, it doesn’t mean you will have to walk away from the real estate transaction – there are solutions. 

Common Problems with Property Titles

Issues with titles quickly become legal issues, and both buyers and sellers may require the assistance of a legal professional to ensure that a solution can be reached that satisfies all parties involved. Real estate lawyers are well versed in this area of the law and can help to navigate these common challenges should they arise:

  • Property Liens- meaning the current owner has unpaid debts, and the property has been used as collateral
  • Land Ownership- issues where the property overlaps with that of a neighbor
  • Problems with Public Records- there may be errors in public records that need to be rectified
  • Bankruptcy Filings and Foreclosures
  • Easements- agreements that give others access to certain areas of the property

It can be alarming the number of issues that could arise from a property title search but knowing about them ahead of time is critical to ensure any chance at rectifying the problem. 

Solutions to Common Property Title Pitfalls

Should problems with the title surface through the search process, it’s essential to know that the seller is obligated to resolve these issues before proceeding with the sale. This means that the current property owner must pay all unpaid debts, such as taxes and liens, at the time of closing. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, it may be helpful to consider the services of a real estate lawyer. They will be able to identify possible solutions based on the property title issue at hand. 

While several complications during a real estate transaction may be at the forefront of buying property, issues with property titles are a common one that many may not even consider. Purchasing real estate will require a property title search, to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.