7 Common Title Problems

A very important part of my pre-sale listing process includes ordering and reviewing many reports.

These reports include Preliminary Title, Natural Hazard Disclosure, city inspection, and termite inspection. I review these reports thoroughly to uncover any red flags that might affect a successful sale. 

Every property has a history, and those details can be uncovered when pulling a Title Report. During the sale of a home, it’s critical that the Title Report is pulled at the time the property is listed to determine if there are any issues that need to be cleared up before the property is sold and changes owners.

Some of the most common title issues are:

  • Fraud & forgery: Sometimes forged or fabricated documents that affect property ownership are filed within public records, obscuring the rightful ownership of the property.
  • Errors in public records: Clerical or filing errors could affect the deed or survey of the property and cause undo financial strain in order to resolve them.
  • Easements/boundaries/encroachments: An unknown easement may prohibit the new buyers from using the property as they’d like, or could allow government agencies, businesses, or other parties to access all or portions of the property.
  • Undiscovered encumbrances: A third party could hold a claim to all or part of the property — due to a former mortgage or lien, or non-financial claims, like restrictions or covenants limiting the use of the property.
  • Unknown liens: Banks or other financing companies can place liens on the property for unpaid debts even after you have closed on the sale. This is an especially worrisome issue with distressed properties.
  • Illegal deeds: It’s possible that a prior deed was made by a minor, a person of unsound mind, or one who is reported single but in actuality is married. These instances may affect the enforceability of prior deeds, affecting prior (and possibly present) ownership.
  • Elder abuse: Especially in the case of elder abuse, the issue is whether the owner is signing without true consent. To establish actual or legal consent to an act, the person must have the ability—mental capacity—to act. In the case of undue influence, the person may have all of the components to give consent, but be acting against their own interests due to fear or dependency.

If you have any questions about Title Reports or resolving any issues in a transaction, call me! I’m a local real estate agent with decades of experience in the local market. I have helped countless buyers and sellers, and I would love to discuss your unique objectives. Give me a call if you would like to chat. Stay healthy and safe! 626.714.6808.