Title issues in Pennsylvania: Tips to avoid disputes

Title disputes can lead to ownership issues when purchasing a home.

Purchasing a home is likely the biggest financial transaction of your life. The process can go smoothly, or issues that can turn your dream home into a nightmare may emerge. One potential issue involves the title.

A title is the term used to refer to the legal ownership of a piece of property. Past ownership issues and liens could cloud the title. Liens are akin to small mortgages taken against a property in an attempt to force the owner to pay a debt, often by those who were hired to do work on the property like contractors. Those who have a claim to ownership in the property can file an action to quiet title. This essentially serves as a lawsuit against anyone and everyone else who may claim ownership in the land. If successful, no further challenges can be made against the title.

How to avoid title issues

The first step to avoid title issues in the first place is often to complete a title search. An attorney can conduct this search, providing a full review of the history of the property. Those who are offering to purchase a home can also include a provision within the contract requiring the seller have clear title. If the seller is unable to establish clear title to the property, the offer will be null and void.

Another option involves the use of insurance. Those who purchase property can also purchase a title insurance policy. This policy provides coverage if someone else states a claim to the property.

What to do if faced with title issues

Title issues in Pennsylvania are also referred to as "tangled titles." This refers to titles that are caught in a variety of legal issues, including living in the home of a deceased relative or party to a rent-to-own agreement where the owner failed to honor the agreement. Others are victims of fraudulent conveyances. Whatever led to the cloud over the title, an action to quiet the title may be needed.

Legal counsel can help

A successful quiet title action requires careful completion of a variety of legal procedures. As a result, those who are considering a quiet title action or are navigating another real estate law issue are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced Philadelphia Pennsylvania real estate attorney. This legal professional will guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: real estate law