The term “title”, in reference to real estate, refers to legal ownership of the property and the right to use the property. A defective title can be problematic related to the establishment of ownership. Difficulty establishing ownership can make resale efforts challenging or potentially interfere with the exercise of property rights. Actions to quiet title are actions to determine ownership of property and can resolve multiple or competing claims on property.

Potential problems with ownership or title can include claims of past ownership in situations when records were not accurately kept or an individual wants to make a claim through adverse possession, liens that have been placed on the property, which must be paid before the property can be sold and prior covenants of record, which refer to promises the original owner of the property may have made to another party that is recorded in the deed for the property.

When entering into a residential real estate transaction, it is important to conduct a thorough title search to locate any defects in the title. It is also possible to include a contingency in purchase documents allowing the buyer to withdraw from the deal if a defective title is discovered. Additional options, such as title insurance, may also be available. If there are concerns or defects with the title, quiet title actions may be able to help the buyer resolve their concerns.

Residential real estate transactions can be an exciting step and a big step for many purchasers, which is why it is important they are familiar with what to look for and the protections that are available to them. Understanding how to proceed through the residential real estate process can help better ensure its success.

Source: Realestate.findlaw.com, “What Does Title Mean?” Accessed May 13, 2017