What is a Title?
The title to a property is the legal right to own and possess the land. The title is represented by a deed, which is transferred from the seller to the buyer at closing. Unfortunately, business is always more complicated than signing our names and shaking hands. It is possible for someone else to have a legal right to the property, and if that can be proven, that person may be able to claim ownership of the property. Ask about the United Title Affiliates buyer's guide to learn more about the process.
How Could Someone Else Claim Ownership of My Property?
Many things can make your title defective, despite an extensive search and exam to uncover potential problems ahead of time. These defects can show up months or years after you purchase your home. Unfortunately, these defects could be legitimate and cause you to have to defend your property rights with legal measures, which could be extremely costly. We often refer to these defects as a "cloud" on the title, which means that there are problems that make it unclear or cloudy as to legitimate ownership rights, and it is our job to clear them up.
The most common defects are from incorrectly listed marital status, mistakes in the legal description of the deed, or a mistake when the deed is recorded in public records. Creditors may have liens on the property for debts unpaid by the seller, or there could be undisclosed heirs that might have inheritance rights. Other defects, albeit less common, include forgery, errors in tax records, incorrect execution of legal documents by minors or incompetent persons, improper delivery of deeds, and many, many more.