Property records are real estate documents which pertain to the ownership rights of a piece of real estate. This can be a home, a plot of land, commercial property, or other types of property. Property records contain information regarding the transfer of ownership rights of the property from one party to another.
A common example of a property record is a deed. Deeds are written legal documents stating who the rightful owner of the property is. In most cases, deeds and other property records are submitted to and held at the county recorder of deeds office, or a similar department. These are generally available to the public, so that anyone can research the records for a particular item of real estate.
People often research property records in connection with a purchase and sale of a residence. Here, the seller or the buyer may consult local property record databases to learn more about the property being transferred. In the process, they might discover new information about the property’s history, such as:
- Property tax issues
- Outstanding debt or liens related to the property
- Encumbrances on the title (such as an easement or other issue)
- Special instructions regarding boundary lines or zoning issues
In addition, property records are especially useful in situations where property is being transferred without a sale. Examples of these are when property is transferred through a will (i.e., inheriting property), or when property is transferred as a gift. Here, it is important that the recipient of the property record the deed and update records to reflect that they are the new property owner.
A dispute over property records can often cause delays and can hinder a sale or transfer of property. In many cases, a chain of title dispute is involved. This is where there is a conflict regarding the record of how the property was passed from owner to owner over time. Often, a title search can get complicated if the property was transferred but a deed was not recorded. This can lead to multiple people claiming that they are the rightful owner of the property. This is often the case when it comes to inherited property.
In such cases, a legal proceeding may be required in order to clarify the property record dispute. This might involve other pieces of evidence, such as other documents that have been kept in relation to the property. Also, damages awards might be rendered if a party suffers economic losses due to the dispute. Such disputes can be complex and may often require the assistance of a legal professional in order to be resolved.
Property records are very important and help reduce confusion and conflict when it comes to selling or transferring property. You may need to hire a real estate lawyer in your area if you need assistance with property records. Your attorney can provide legal research, help you search title records, and assist with paperwork as needed. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or will be involved in a legal proceeding, your lawyer can represent you in court as well.