You expect to own the real estate you purchase free and clear after closing. This is by no means an unreasonable expectation, considering the fact that you agreed to pay good money for the property. More than likely, part of your purchase and sale agreement included the need to ensure that no issues regarding the transfer of a clean title to you come up during the due diligence phase of your transaction.
You can purchase title insurance in order to complete your transaction. This policy provides you with assurances regarding your full and complete ownership of the property, but the issuing of it may only occur after a title search and examination. If any issues with the title arise, they could delay your closing.
Common title issues
During a title search and examination, one or more of the following common title issues could arise:
- Some of the documents associated with the property could prove to be fabrications or forgeries.
- The person you thought was the lawful seller may be an impostor.
- Filing and clerical errors happen more often than you would think.
- Easements unknown to the seller, or that the seller failed to disclose, could show up in the title search.
- A prior survey could disagree with your current survey, which may change the boundaries of the property you intend to purchase.
- Liens and other encumbrances on the property the seller failed to disclose or to know about could be revealed.
- Illegal or improperly executed deeds could affect the prior or current ownership of the property.
- Heirs of a prior owner not identified and located during probate proceedings could resurface with a potential claim to the property.
- A previously undiscovered will of a prior owner could also give an heir a potential claim to the property.
Without a resolution to any of the above title issues, you may not gain rightful ownership of the property.
Fixing title issues
Fortunately, you can fix or prevent many of these common issues. Whether that task proves easy or difficult depends on the situation. A simple letter from a prior mortgage lien holder may be the solution, but dealing with heirs of a prior owner may not prove as simple. In some cases, a court action to "quiet" the title may be necessary. This action may allow a Louisiana court to wipe away the issue impeding your closing.
Title searches, examinations and corrections may be above your experience level. Fortunately, you can enlist the appropriate legal support in order to help with these issues and ultimately allow you to own the property outright without any questions regarding your rights to it.