When you purchase North Florida real estate, you are actually buying the seller’s “rights and interests” in the real estate. In legal courses, property rights are often described as one large “bundle of sticks” with each stick representing a various right, interest, or use in the real estate. While these rights vary between the types of transactions, they typically include rights such as the right to use the property or the right to sell the property. These rights and interests are often not as clear as they may seem, because there are a variety of factors that can affect the seller’s title to real property. Our North Florida Title Insurance Agents can help you with a title insurance policy to ensure your rights are protected and that you have clear title to your property.
Potential Title Insurance Problems, Title Clouds or Title Defects
Certain factors can restrict a home buyer’s rights to use the property as he or she wishes. For example, a utility company may have the right to construct a power line across the property (known as an “easement”); or federal, state or local governments may have a lien on the property for back real estate taxes or other assessments. A common problem in Florida after the the real estate bubble burst is liens related to past homeowners’ association dues or condo association dues.
Other potential problems include the rights of adjoining landowners to enforce covenants restricting the use of the property, or the ownership by others of mineral or air rights. Additionally, title problems, such as claims by heirs to an estate, wild deeds, forged deeds, or other mistakes in the public records, can pose a challenge to obtaining clear title and ownership of your property.
Therefore, it is very important that before you know what rights the seller can convey, who else may have an interest in the real estate that could affect your ownership, use and enjoyment of the land and structure, and other title problems or clouds to title that may arise during your real estate transaction.
What is a Title Search
A title search to determine what limitations there may be on property ownership is a complicated process that can include an examination of records in the office of recorders or registrar of deeds, clerk of courts and other municipal and county officials. These records cover all recorded judgements, street and sewer assessments, special taxes and assessments, and other documents affecting title to the property.
Common Title Problems, Title Defects, and Title Clouds
However, even the most thorough title search cannot guarantee that a property is free from title hazards. There are a number of problems that do not always show up in an examination of public records. These hidden defects can cause serious problems, financial loss, or even loss of the property for the buyer. Some of these problems include the following:
- Mistakes in the public records, including descriptions of property that appear accurate, but are not;
- Pending legal action against the property that could affect ownership;
- Unreleased mortgages;
- Liens against property because the seller has not paid taxes;
- Fraudulent acts, such as forged deeds, mortgage releases and other documents;
- Misinterpretations of wills;
- Claims by children born or adopted after the date of a will;
- Claims by previously undisclosed heirs;
- Deeds by minors, aliens in some states, or persons of unsound mind;
- Administration of estates of persons absent, but not deceased;
- Claims of creditors against real estate sold by heirs;
- An easement that allows construction of a road or utility lines at a later date; and
- Mineral or air rights owned by others.
Our North Florida Title Company Can Help Identify the Problems
If you are considering purchasing real estate, contact our North Florida Title Insurance Agents today to discuss potential issues to watch for when purchasing real estate. Contact our Live Oak, Florida Title Insurance Office at 386-362-4419 to speak with someone today about your title insurance issues, or request a title insurance quote online.