Chain of Title in Real Estate: Navigating Ownership History for a Secure Transaction
“Chain of title” is the ownership history of a real property parcel from the first owner to the present owner. The reason chain of title in real estate is important is that a current owner has good (or “marketable”) title only if every prior conveyance of the land was done correctly. A problem in the chain of title—regardless of how far in the past—can invalidate one’s ownership interest today or cause a defect requiring court action to resolve.
What Can Go Wrong in Chain of Title?
There can be any number of possible defects in a chain of title. Some of the most common are:
- Forged deeds
- Mistakes of County Recorders recording legal documents
- Missing documents
- Mistakes in the documents themselves, like names spelled differently on different deeds
- Deeds executed under an expired, fabricated, or otherwise ineffective power of attorney
- Deeds by persons lacking capacity to convey property
- Failure to include necessary parties on conveyance documents, like both spouses, a trustee for a trust, or a guardian for a person lacking capacity
If you have reason to believe there’s a problem with a property’s chain of title, better safe than sorry.
Timely Contract Solutions
For Buyers: Use TIER Plus® to have a TC Certified™ attorney research the chain of title for a property you are considering buying or have an offer on. Know exactly what you are buying.
For Sellers: Use TIER Plus® to have a TC Certified™ attorney research potential chain of title problems. If a problem with the integrity of your title is identified and fixed, the market value of your property will be substantiated.
Use Timely Contract solutions to avoid common problems of the real estate transaction … and to sleep better at night!
This posting is not legal advice. Legal advice is based on specific facts. This information is necessarily general in nature.