Issues with the title, such as liens, flawed deeds, ambiguous boundary lines and property infringements, can cause considerable problems during a real estate transaction, and may even prevent the sale from closing. As such, it’s important that buyers uncover and resolve such issues as quickly as possible, to ensure that the transfer of ownership is successful.
Common title issues that can arise during a real estate transaction
Prior to closing on a house, the homebuyer must do a title search and obtain title insurance. In some cases, this search reveals problems associated with the title, which can prevent the sale from closing. Some of the most common issues include:
When a lien is attached to a property, it indicates that money is owed to a creditor. If the lien is discovered prior to the sale of the home, the debt will need to be settled before closing can proceed. However, if the sale has already closed, the old liens could pose a problem for the new owner, even though they didn’t incur the debts.
Public record errors
Clerical or filing errors can affect the deed or the survey that is attached to the property. It’s important that they are uncovered and resolved prior to the sale of the home, to prevent costly and time-consuming issues down the road.
Unfortunately, forged documents aren’t entirely uncommon in real estate. If public records, the deed or other legal documents contain forged signatures, it can affect the ownership rights of the property.
When a homeowner dies, their will may bequeath the property to their heirs. If the heirs can’t be found, or if other individuals attempt to assert their rights to the property, it can obscure the transfer of the title.
If the homeowner dies without a will or an heir, the state may sell the property. However, if it is later discovered that there was in fact a will or an heir, the rights of the purchaser may be challenged.
If the prior deed to the house was invalid or illegal for any reason (for example due to forged signatures or fraud) it can affect both past and present rights to the property.
An easement is the right of one party to use another party’s land for some purpose, such as to access a lake or place utilities. If you’re buying a home and there is an easement attached, it could limit your use of the property.
An encumbrance is a claim of ownership or an interest in ownership that can restrict the buyer’s full property rights. It’s a significant title issue that can be a barrier to closing.
In some cases, various property surveys of the land show different boundaries. When this occurs, a neighbor may be able to claim ownership to a portion of the property.
How to handle title issues
If you’re involved in a real estate boundary or title dispute, it’s important to contact a qualified real estate attorney as soon as possible, like our Los Angeles lawyers at RA & Associates, who can rectify the issue and protect your rights to the property. With years of experience, we are well-versed in all aspects of real estate law, and have the expertise necessary to resolve virtually any title issue on behalf of our clients.
Contact our office today
With over a decade of experience in real estate litigation, the attorneys at RA & Associates have successfully resolved countless cases for our clients. For help with your legal issue, contact our Los Angeles office today for a preliminary analysis of your case.