Title companies like Foote Title perform an important role in the home-buying process. It is our job to make sure the title for the property you want to buy is clean so that you can buy your new home without any issues or extra expenses.
While most title searches are uneventful, there are some common problems that a title search can uncover. And these problems are more than an annoyance – they can cost you thousands of dollars or drive down the value of the property.
Here are six common problems a title search may uncover:
Errors. We’re all human, even those who file public documents. Clerical and filing errors can occur, causing problems with the title. Fixing these problems can cost lots of money to fix.
Unknown liens. Past unpaid debts by previous owners can be attached to a property. Buy a house with liens on it, and you’re responsible for those debts, whether they’re you fault – or not.
Missing documents and information. Wills, divorce decrees, and other documents can affect the ownership of a property. If anything is missing from the history of the property you’d like to buy, it can become a big headache. Unknown or missing heirs of a deceased owner can come out of the woodwork, claiming rights to the property.
Undiscovered encumbrances and easements. If anyone holds a claim on all or part of the property, it could affect your ability to use it as you please. These claims can be due to former mortgages or liens or non-financial claims like restrictions or covenances.
Illegal deeds. If a prior deed holder was an undocumented immigrant, a minor, or person not of sound mind, it can affect whether a prior deed can be enforced.
Forgery. A title search can uncover a con artist or forger. It’s not uncommon for a forger to file phony documents with forged or fake signatures to claim ownership over a property – that they then try to sell. As the new owner, you could get caught in the middle.
We make our best efforts to find every possible problem when we do a title search, but sometimes problems (especially those of an illegal nature) may not show up in public documents. That’s why we recommend title insurance; it protects you when unknown problems come to the surface.