You’re excited to buy your new home and finally move out of your apartment. You close on the house and that’s when you find out that someone else is claiming that they already own it. They say that it’s their home all along and they were never trying to sell it, so you can’t legally claim that it’s yours.
Needless to say, you’re perplexed. You weren’t trying to put yourself in this situation. You were just trying to buy a house. How is it even possible that someone else – not the person who sold you the house – also thinks that they own it?
This could be an example of home title fraud
There are multiple ways that this can happen, but one common one is home title fraud or theft.
For instance, perhaps somebody approached the previous owner of the house and told them that they had a good deal for refinancing. The person was convinced and decided that they did want to refinance, so they filled out all of the paperwork. When they were done, they believe that they still owned the home, but they just had a different mortgage.
However, the other party actually brought the documentation for a home sale. When the fraud victim signed the paperwork, they signed the title over to the scam artist that had deceived them. That gave the scammer the right to sell their home out from under them. You bought it without knowing everything that had happened, but the person who lived in the house was never trying to sell and didn’t even know that they no longer had the title to their own home.
You can see exactly how complicated a situation like this can be and why you need to know all of your legal options. When a real estate deal goes awry, don’t try to handle it on your own.