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What is a clear title in real estate?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Real Estate & Development

When buying or selling real estate, it is essential to have a clear title. PocketSense explains that a clear title is a title where you are the only owner and there are no other possible claims to the property.

A clear title is important because it means there will not be issues with ownership in the future.

Title issues

If your title is not clear, then it means that someone else may have some ability to make a claim to your property because he or she has a lien on it or can prove ownership. Such issues may occur if there are issues with ownership due to inheritances and sales in the past that nobody investigated or cleared properly. For example, if the current owner bought the property after the death of a previous owner without a proper search for heirs who could claim ownership, then in the future, an heir who never received notification about the property could make a legal claim to it.

Another common issue with titles is taxes. If a previous owner failed to pay property taxes, the government could have a lien against the property.

Clearing a title

If you find out that you do not have a clear title or that the property you want to buy does not have a clear title, then you will need to take steps to clear it. If you are the owner, this might require paying an heir for the value of the property or paying off outstanding tax bills. If you are buying the property, then you can walk away from the transaction or insist the seller handles the issue.