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Common causes of real estate title problems

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | REAL ESTATE LAW - Real Estate Law

The purchase of a home or a piece of property may be the single biggest expenditure of your life – and the process is not guaranteed to go smoothly.

Title problems can be a major headache for both sellers and buyers – and they crop up in the most unexpected ways. Here are some of the most common defects that can arise with property titles:

Errors in the public record

A lot of title problems can be attributed to nothing more than simple human error. The misspelling of someone’s name or an omitted description of the property may seem like a minor thing since it is clear what should have been recorded, but those things can create significant issues down the line – especially when you try to resell.

Undiscovered liens

Liens on a piece of property can be there from unpaid taxes, contractors who were never reimbursed for their labors, debts that went into collection and unreleased mortgages. If you buy a property with a lien, the lien becomes yours to manage – so those have to be cleared before you sign any contracts.

Easements and encroachments

Easements grant someone else the right to use the property in some way, which can affect both your property rights and your plans for the property in the future. Encroachments occur when a neighbor’s structure (such as a shed, fence or garden) extends over their property line and onto the property in question. 

Forgery and fraud

Unfortunately, forgery and fraud are actually significant problems in real estate. People have been known to force signatures on a deed or use real estate transactions to launder money. Buyers and lenders both have to be careful about verifying the authenticity of documents involved in real estate transactions.

Even if a real estate transaction seems like it is pretty straightforward, having the right legal guidance can give you peace of mind.