Marketable Title Lawyers

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Most Common Real Estate Issues

What Is Marketable Title?

Before it can be sold, real estate must be marketable. In general terms, it must be free from what are called encumbrances. In other words, if the property has liens, clouds of titles (unclear title), title defects, or other risks of litigation attached it, then the property is not marketable. Having a house that has marketable title gives both buyers and sellers the peace of mind that property issues, and potential legal trouble, will not come up later after the purchase or sale.

How Can I Make Sure That the Property Has Marketable Title?

Title searches are the best way to make sure a piece of real property has marketable title or uncover any encumbrances. In this process, an experienced title searcher will examine the public records in the city where the real property is located. This person will examine the grantor and grantee indexes for all recorded documents in the land registry concerning a particular piece of property. This search will produce a map of the chain of title.

What is a Chain of Title?

A chain of title is what is produced by a title search. The chain of title lists all of the legally recognized conveyances of the property and is evidence that a piece of property has validly passed down thorough the years from one owner to the next without any problems. The title search will also determine if there are any encumbrances on the property, such as mortgages or liens.

What If the Title Search Has No Problems in it?

If the title search turns up nothing other than a valid chain of title, and if there are no other known encumbrances on the property, then the title is "good and marketable."

Do Most Properties have Marketable Title?

As a title search of most properties will reveal, almost no property has marketable title. Title searches usually turn up encumbrances on properties such as mortgages, real estate taxes, easements for sidewalks and other municipal improvements, federal taxes, government claims, legal judgments, foreclosures, condemnations, covenants, and private easements. When you do a title search, you are not usually looking for marketable title, but rather you are looking to determine what encumbrances are on the property and if they will pose any serious legal threats to your enjoyment of the property.

Should I Contact an Attorney Regarding my Marketable Title Issues?

A real estate attorney should be able to help you out on your marketable title issue. Property law is a confusing area of the law, and one should never go it alone.

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Last Modified: 01-27-2014 03:16 PM PST

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