Research shows that as many as 80% of homeowners have at least one major regret about their home. Many of the respondents said their homes were too small or there wasn't enough closet space, but those are issues that can sometimes be fixed with a home addition or by better use of the available space. However, there are other problems that aren't so easy to fix and can cost you a heap of money.
Fortunately, these types of problems can be discovered by title searchers in the pre-closing phase of your home purchase, giving you a chance to back out of the purchase. But, sometimes title searchers make errors and overlook discrepancies in court documents during their research, which is why it is crucial you obtain title insurance to cover the costs of anything your title searchers may miss. Here are 4 problems your title searcher or real estate attorneys may find… or not.
Documents, including deeds and mortgages, can be illegal if they were forged or signed by an immigrant or by someone who was underage. Real estate documents can also be illegal if the individual signed under a different marital status.
Documents can also be illegal if any transfer of ownership was not done legally. What this can mean for you, as someone who wants to purchase the home, is that the current homeowner may not have full legal rights to the property and cannot legally sell the home.
Incorrect Metes & Bounds
The metes and bounds is the description of the property boundaries. If the metes and bounds are incorrect in the current deed, the title searcher will need to investigate when the discrepancy occurred. This could have been a simple human error in the recording of the metes and bounds description during a previous transfer of the property. Or, it could mean that the surveying company did not annotate the correct descriptions.
The metes and bounds descriptions of the adjoining properties will need to be assessed to determine where the discrepancy is. This is important to you because an incorrect metes and bounds description could cause you to pay more or less in property taxes annually.
Easements are grants given to other individuals or companies to access your property. For example, an easement may be listed giving a utility company the right to gain access to utility lines located on the property.
Another example of an easement is when the only way a neighbor can access his or her property is by taking a path on the property you want to buy, the neighbor is allowed to use the property to access their own.
It's important to understand what the various easements are for any property you buy because it means you will be legally required to share the property.
Expensive Property Liens
If the current or any previous homeowner failed to pay for repairs or improvements to the property, there could be what is called a mechanics lien on the property.
For example, if a heating contractor installed a new furnace but the furnace and/or labor was never paid for, the heating contractor may have placed a mechanics lien on the property. This essentially means the heating contractor has a monetary right to a portion of the property equal to what he or she was owed by the current homeowner or a previous one. A title searcher researches property liens at the local county courthouse.
Title searches are an essential part of the process of buying a home. However, sometimes title searchers are unable to discover everything about the properties they research. For this reason, it is important to obtain title insurance to cover any costs in the future should any of these types of situations arise. Real estate lawyers often look over the reports generated by title searchers for their clients.