Whether you are a seasoned investor or a first-time buyer, title issues can arise in any real estate transaction. Legal issues surrounding the title of a property can put up roadblocks to closing a transaction, and may even arise after a property has been purchased. Seeking the legal advice of an experienced real estate attorney can help you get them sorted out and ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Common Property Title Issues
There are several common problems that can derail a closing and lead to further legal issues that may require litigation. That is why mortgage lenders usually require title insurance for any real estate transaction. Common title issues include:
Unknown liens – Unpaid property taxes, bills, or loans can lead to a lien being placed on a property. If these liens are not settled before closing, they may become your responsibility.
Errors in public records – Clerical and filing errors, omissions, and mistakes in deed recording such as misspellings, an incorrect or insufficient legal description, or an unrecorded deed can lead to costly legal problems that can stall a transaction.
Missing heirs – When a seller dies, the ownership of a property may pass to their heirs or someone named in a will. If the heir is unknown at the time of death or a family member contests a will, they may step forward and try to claim the property, even after a real estate transaction has been completed.
Boundary disputes – Even if you have a survey of your property, another survey or verbal agreement with different boundaries may exist. This can lead to serious disputes that take you by surprise down the road.
Easements – Discovering easements before purchasing a property is critical, as they can put certain restrictions on how a property is used or give others access to specific parts of the property.
Illegal deeds – When a prior deed is made by a minor, undocumented immigrant, someone of unsound mind, or a person who claimed they were single but were really married, it can affect the validity of current ownership.
Forged documents – Unfortunately, forgeries in deeds and titles are not uncommon. When a forged document is recorded in the public record, it can obscure and jeopardize ownership.
How A Real Estate Attorney Can Help
A Pennsylvania real estate lawyer can help you identify and resolve these problems at any stage in a transaction, or even after you have purchased a property. They can help you find title insurance, do a thorough search and examination of the title, and negotiate issues like easements, property line disputes, and judgment liens. For commercial property transactions that involve zoning, building, and easement issues, construction contract lawyers or business liability lawyers can ensure any land property you may be purchasing is suitable for its intended use and handle any disputes or negotiations that could hold up your transaction.
At Carosella & Associates, our attorneys handle all types of title and deed issues. We act as your staunch advocate and guide you through any legal pitfalls that may come your way.