If you're buying a house, your real estate agent may suggest that you reach out to a real estate lawyer to help you with the title research and insurance. While this may not seem that important, a title search is a vital part of the purchase process. Once the search is complete, the title insurance protects you from any title problems that may arise after closing. Here's a look at some of the potential issues that your real estate attorney can help you with.
Public Record Errors
Errors happen all the time, particularly when it comes to data entry and filing. Clerical errors in the public records can affect your ownership rights if the records indicate that the title is clear, but it is not.
Unknown Property Liens
If you receive notice from a financing company that there's a lien on the property due to a prior owner's failure to pay a loan, you may need your real estate attorney to help you address the outstanding debt with the previous owner. Despite the fact that the debt isn't yours, the lienholder does have the right to put a lien on the property until the debt is paid.
Absent or Missing Estate Heirs
If the home you're buying is part of an estate, your real estate attorney should do a thorough investigation into the deceased owner's family and potential next-of-kin. Sometimes, a long-lost family member will come to contest their rights to the property. This can happen even long after you've closed on the property, and it may affect your ownership rights. Working with an attorney from the start can reduce the risk of this type of issue.
Depending on the situation with the property, you may need a real estate attorney to provide legal support in the event of a third-party claim. Unknown encumbrances can include things such as unpaid or unresolved former mortgages, covenants and property restrictions. Your attorney can negotiate settlements and work with the third party to clear the title claim.
Survey and Property Boundary Disputes
One of the most common issues for property owners is confusion about the actual property boundaries. If the survey you had done before the purchase shows different boundaries than the existing survey on record, you may find that your neighbor files a dispute about the actual property line.
Depending on where the lines are drawn, your neighbor may be able to claim a portion of your land, particularly if he or she can provide solid documentation of the actual property line. If you've already put up a fence around that line, you may be required to move it. Having an attorney such as Saba Richard D. Attorney on your side through this process is important to protect your rights.
With so many potential title and property issues that can arise from a home purchase, it is in your best interest to protect yourself as best as possible. Hire a real estate attorney before you even put in an offer so that you can preserve your legal rights throughout the process.