6 Title Issues that Slow Down Real Estate Transactions in Florida…
False Impersonations or Fraudulent Deeds
The supposed seller could use a similar or a common name or could attempt to impersonate the actual owner of the home to scam money out of eager buyers. When this happens, the actual seller could be entirely unaware that the property is being sold by a scammer that is impersonating them in the transaction. This is frequently seen with vacant land deals where the seller is not local and remains completely unaware that the property is being fraudulently sold to an unsuspecting buyer. You might be surprised how often this happens.
Family Members with Legal Interest
In some cases, a title search could reveal that other people may have legal interests in a property, this may include a prior owner or heir. Should this occur, a distant relative who has interest in the property must be addressed by the property owner before the property is closed on. It is imperative that any heirs who could have potential interest in the property are addressed. Why? If this is left unaddressed, someone claiming to be a rightful heir could try to intervene with the transaction claiming they have a superior ownership interest in the real estate property.
Ineffective Past Deeds
Ineffective deeds are generally the product of deeds that were signed by a person who was not authorized to sign them. Deeds signed by a minor, someone who has lied about their marital status, someone who does not own the property, or someone lacking the authority to bind an entity are examples of ineffective deeds. Florida homestead laws require a spouse to sign any deed that will also be their primary residence. Should a spouse fail to join in on the deed for the conveyance of their property, the deed will be considered void and of no effect. This is why it is important that all parties who are required to sign the deed do so.
Neighbor Encroachment Issues
Neighbor encroachments are any areas on your property where improvements on a neighboring property intrudes or overlaps onto your property or vice versa. Failing to have a survey completed on a property prior to purchasing it could lead to a boundary dispute later.
Property Liens or Judgments
There are several different types of liens that may be attached to real estate deeds. Most often, specific types of liens called judgment liens are discovered– these can quickly halt any real estate transaction. This is a very common issue that many buyers will encounter. In Florida, a judgment lien might be affixed to any property owned by a debtor and could also be attached to a debtor’s personal property. Judgment liens were created to secure the unpaid amount of any monetary judgment that the judgment holder acquired, typically this a creditor. Florida allows creditors to attach a judgment lien to any non-homestead real estate owned by a debtor, by recording a certified copy of the judgment in the official records of any county where the debtor owns property.
Public Record Mistakes
Public record information is entered in by humans; therefore, it is not unlikely that errors may sometimes occur. Commonly, a clerk will enter a deed or mortgage and its corresponding information into the grantor-grantee index with one of the names misspelled on the recorded deed or mortgage. When this happens, the title examiner conducting a name search may miss this recorded deed or mortgage which can result in delays or issues with the closing.
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