In last week’s post we talked about the importance of ensuring the seller has clear title before closing any commercial or residential real estate transaction in New York. This week we’ll discuss some of the common title issues that can appear in a title search, and which generally must be resolved before the deal is concluded.
One of the most common title issues is clerical or filing errors in the public record. These errors can raise issues about the survey or the validity of the deed to the property. Fortunately, in most cases these issues are relatively easy to fix.
Hidden liens are a more serious problem. If a prior owner failed to pay off a mortgage, or had a court judgment entered against them, there may be a lien on the property. This lien will often survive a sale of the property, so it is important to identify the problem and clear it up before closing.
An unknown easement may turn up on a title search. An easement may, for example, give an adjoining property owner the right to use your property to gain access to a road or shorefront. Easement issues can seriously impair an owner’s right to use and enjoy the property and can potentially diminish its value.
Missing wills or heirs can be an issue if the property was ever part of a decedent’s estate. In some cases a will may not be discovered, or missing heirs located, until long after the property is sold. When this happens the new owner’s rights in the property may be at risk.
Identifying and resolving title issues is a key part of any real estate transaction. Understanding the nature of these issues and how to resolve them is important for any buyer of real estate in New York.
Source: firstam.com, “10 Common Title Problems,” accessed Dec. 6, 2015