08 Mar Don’t Let Common Property Title Issues Derail Your Home Closing
Selling a home is a big step in your life’s journey. It is a time to celebrate, yet there are many unexpected issues that can arise even after you accept an offer. Among the most common issues that can derail a home seller’s closing involve problems with the property title. Here’s how you can ensure all your bases are covered so that title issues don’t come between you and your home sale.
What is a Property Title?
Simply put, a property title is proof you own the property. If you have unresolved title issues, it can completely derail the transaction. Common title problems relate to outstanding debt, pending divorce, bankruptcy, or claims arising from heirs who have rights against your property. You can even run into fraud issues or a simple typo made on the title paperwork that opens up disputes on the address, ownership, and more.
What are Common Property Title Issues?
In general, some common property title issues arise due to errors or mistakes, unpaid debt, and heirship issues. These include:
Errors on Public Records
Errors on property deeds are more common than you might think. They can range from missing information to clerical errors. Before a sale can take place, these errors not only have to be corrected, but the deed must then be refiled.
Any unpaid debts, including taxes, give the party owed the money a lien against the home. The lien allows them to put legal claims on the title which can’t be removed unless the debt is paid or released. A common example is an old mortgage you may have refinanced years ago which the bank never filed a release. Adding to the possible confusion, sometimes a person with debt who has the same name as the seller can be mistakenly identified as the owner, which will also present a lien on the property.
Deeds must always be signed by the person or people who have either an ownership or other legal interest in the property. A previous owner may have transferred the property and either mistakenly or fraudulently excluded a legal heir from signing the deed. This would create a title issue for the seller as the excluded heir can appear and make a claim against your property.
How to Avoid or Fix Title Issues
A home seller’s two best defenses against title issues are working with title companies and real estate attorneys. Their roles are to identify and resolve title issues encountered during closing. Title companies research the property to find title issues. They also provide title insurance to protect you against issues that might arise following the sale. A real estate attorney works on your behalf to show the errors have been addressed should a title issue arise.
Having these two professional services in your corner will ensure you reduce the chances of property title issues derailing your sale and you can look forward to a smooth closing process!