Could Someone Have A Claim To Your New Real Estate?
Real estate is a huge investment for most Americans. So you need to have certainty that you have all the ownership rights and no one else can claim any of your land. However, some types of title defects may infringe upon this. When might another party have some kind of claim to your property? Here are five of the most common situations and what to do about them.
1. Old Lienholders
A lien is an encumbrance on the property which prevents it from being sold without fulfilling the attached unpaid debt. Liens are commonly used by mortgage lenders, government agencies, and even construction companies doing work on the property. A lien may need to be satisfied, removed by the lienholder, or removed by a judge.
2. Missing Heirs
If the property was left to heirs after a prior owner passed away, those heirs are all involved in its ownership. But heirs cannot always be easily found. And sometimes, family members sell property without following all the rules, leaving missing heirs with an unexpected claim to your property.
3. Unmarked Easements
An easement is a portion of a property that is ceded to another user for some legitimate reason. If your neighbor can only access the public road by driving across a part of your property, they may be granted an official easement giving them the right to do so. However, if that neighbor recently built a fence on your side of the property line, a judge may order it removed.
4. Boundary Disputes
Most homebuyers are wise to do a survey of their new land so they have a clear record of its boundaries. Titles that have been transferred many times can easily wind up with unclear borders. Your neighbor might have been using a part of your land for years without realizing it. Whether or not they will continue to have a claim to it depends on the specific circumstances of their use.
5. Undiscovered Wills
Did any prior owner pass away intestate? Dying without a will means that their estate (including real estate property) is transferred to heirs based on state inheritance rules. However, sometimes a will is later found, and its instructions differ from those rules. In that case, you may need to work with those heirs to determine how to clear the title.
Where to Start
Could anyone have a rightful (or even a questionable) claim to the property you want to buy? Find out by working with a qualified real estate lawyer in your state. With their help and expertise, you'll quickly identify any claimants and get the issue resolved without delay. Reach out to a real estate lawyer for more information.