Attorneys Stephen Korshak and Lee Karina Dani

Clearing real estate titles to buy, sell or pass on

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Blog, Commercial Real Estate, Heirs & Beneficiaries, Real Estate Transactions |

When it comes to properties, buyers, sellers, or anyone who inherits property after the death of someone must ensure that there are no title issues associated with the property.

What is a clear title?

A title that is free of liens or levies from creditors or others (builders, for example) is also called “clean title” or “free and clear title” and helps prove that the owner has the legal right to sell or pass on the property and that there are no outstanding responsibilities attached to the property, particularly financial responsibilities such as liens or debts.

The presence of a lien created a “cloud” on the title, which means it is not clear for the owner to sell or pass it on to someone.

How do I establish a clear title?

First, you must consider the most common problems attached to property titles: liens and boundary disputes (with neighbors, for example.)

A title insurance company can help find these problems by using its resources to thoroughly research the property and titles (called a “chain of titles”). It will give you a “title report,” which will show if there are any liens on the property.

Protecting yourself

Purchasing a title report protects you against unforeseen issues with the land you want to buy or that someone passed on to you. Review the title report and determine whether liens or other problems cloud the title.

If the title company finds issues with the title, you must decide whether to move forward. If you choose to move forward, you will have to clear the title so that you can be the rightful owner of the property.

You can also purchase title insurance which will protect you if any problems arise. If someone else comes to claim the property, the insurer will represent and defend you.

Ensuring that a property or piece of land is clear and marketable is critical before you purchase or accept a property or parcel. Doing your research when it comes to clear titles is critical.