The title of the property outlines crucial information like who owns it, where it is located, title number and boundary marks. These are vital pieces of information if you are planning to sell or buy a property. They are also crucial when using the property in question as collateral when taking out credit.
Unfortunately, property titles are not always as clean as they come. Left unaddressed, the following title defects can derail a real estate transaction exercise or, worse still, lead to protracted disputes and court battles.
1. Defects arising from transfers
Title disputes can arise due to a number of factors, but property transfers following legal processes like probate and divorce are some of the leading causes. For instance, during the probate process, the executor might have to sell real estate per the terms of the testator’s will. But if they cannot locate the beneficiary, the heir who never received their inheritance might show up at a later date and claim the property when they learn about the title transfer.
2. Defects arising from fraud
Fraud happens in pretty much every industry and aspect of life. When purchasing real estate, you expect to assume full ownership by having the title transferred to your name. But what happens if the person who signed the deed is not the rightful owner? Well, in this case, fraud shall have taken place and it’s only a matter of time before a full-fledged dispute arises.
3. Boundary issues
Before investing in real estate, it’s important that you exercise due diligence. This may involve, among other things, reviewing paperwork pertaining to the property, including surveys. From there, you will get insights into the property structure and land boundaries. If the survey reveals disparities in land boundaries, a dispute might arise.
Title disputes are a big deal. Understanding how these disputes happen can help you take proactive steps to respond to one that might impact your property.