Title Defects & Property Ownership Issues
Spring at the Lake of the Ozarks is a popular time to buy a property. No matter what kind of property you are planning to purchase (residential, commercial, vacation, land), purchasing title insurance is a crucial step in the buying process. There are many different reasons you should purchase title insurance. Arrowhead Title, Inc, the Lake of the Ozarks most trusted title company is here to expand on one major reason that having title insurance is important –that there could be a defect in the title that you are not aware of. Here are some of the common title defects that can affect your property ownership.
Errors in Public Records or Forgery of DocumentsErrors in the recording of information sometimes will occur at the County Clerk’s Office, or the former homeowners’ may incorrectly record information. For, example, names can easily be misspelled. Errors and confusion can also result when there are quite a few documented former homeowners’ who have similar names or spell their names in a similar fashion. It is also possible that something on the property deed was recorded incorrectly. For example, the amount of land that the property comes with and the amount of land that was advertised could be different. If this is the case, you could be paying for land that the title does not include. Another public record error that at times can occur involves the map that is attached to the policy; the map may not show the correct location of the land/property according to the public records, or the location may not match what is on file at the County Clerk’s Office.
It is also possible there are some documents that were forged or fraudulent. Fraud can occur intentionally or unintentionally. One example of this would be misreported or incorrectly filed tax documents by former owners. Forgery of signatures on legal documents (either by the former homeowners or at the County Clerk’s office) constitutes as fraud, as does falsifications of any important documents. Any expired legal documents are considered fraudulent as well and could cause problems in the ownership of your new property.
The Seller Does Not Own the PropertyAs odd as this sounds, it is possible that the seller does not actually own the property they are selling. You could be dealing with unethical sellers, or the property could unknowingly be in someone's will. When the former owner of a property dies, at times their heirs may be either missing or unknown at the time of death. After the death of a former property owner, a will or heir may not be found at all; in this instance, the state may sell their assets (this includes the home). After many years (and new property ownership) the will may come to light or the unknown heirs may appear. In this case, your rights as the new property owner may be jeopardized. When someone dies, and they leave property in their will, it is not uncommon for them to leave the property to multiple people/family members. In this case, every person that the property was left to must sign the deed. Let's say the property is inherited by four people, if only three of the four heirs sign the deed, the deed is not clear. All titles should be thoroughly searched for unknown heirs and free of any title issues. That is why it is so important to have title insurance.
Unknown Property LiensDoing a land record search will disclose any information regarding a possible property lien. A property lien is a claim or right to property, typically because someone has loaned the current property owners’ money. You may discover that a prior owner of your home or property was not prompt or efficient in paying their bills. They could owe banks or other financial institutions money that you are unaware of. The former debt may not be in your name, but those banks and financing companies can place liens on your property. This can happen even if you are unaware of the debt at the time of purchasing and can occur after you have already purchased the property. If there is a lien on the property, the property could be subject to foreclosure if the lien is not paid. Therefore, it is so important to get a complete title search done on your property before you buy. Arrowhead Title, Inc, where accuracy matters, is here to protect you from any title issues your future property may have.
Discovering a hidden title problem can be a very frustrating and difficult situation to deal with as a property owner. However, our title experts in Lake Ozark, MO will be by your side every step of the way to help you in the process of purchasing title insurance to cover you if this occurs.