Real estate is one of the biggest investments future homeowners or property developers can make. A crucial part of buying real estate is a title examination, or title search. This process can be quite complex and is ever-changing, so it’s important to consult professionals well-versed in the finer points of real estate development. Without proper title examinations, real estate transactions can’t be fully completed. Before moving forward on a real estate purchase, it’s imperative homeowners and property developers understand the most common title problems and frequently asked questions pertaining to examination and title insurance. So don’t take any chances — contact Asheville real estate attorneys at Goosmann Rose Colvard & Cramer, P.A. to ensure your next real estate purchase is protected. 

Boundary Issues

When a property is built, there are several surveys conducted to establish its exact boundaries in relation to surrounding properties. During the real estate purchase process, buyers might discover several surveys of the property, and some of those may show differing boundaries. Therefore, a neighbor or other party may be able to claim ownership to a portion of your property. If you are in need of assistance during a survey dispute, contact us right away. 

Unknown Liens

Not every property owner is the most meticulous bookkeeper or bill payer, leaving potential buyers with possible unforeseen debts. Even though former debt tied to the property should not be yours to pay, banks and other financing companies can place liens on your property for unpaid debts even after you have closed on the sale. Liens are legal claims or rights against a property, and during a title examination, our real estate attorneys can help ensure these liens are or will be paid and satisfied. 

Undiscovered Will

When a property owner dies with no heir or individual named in their will, the state sells his or her assets, including the home. When you purchase a home of this nature, you assume your rights as owner. However, even years later, the deceased owner's will may surface again and your rights to the property could be seriously jeopardized. Don’t take any chances — get in touch with the team at Goosmann Rose Colvard & Cramer, P.A., to guarantee proper ownership of your home!

Illegal Property Deeds

Appearances can be deceiving when looking at the history of a property title. Though the chain of ownership may seem perfectly fine, it's possible that a prior deed was made by a minor, a person of unsound mind, or someone who falsely reported their marital status. Any of these scenarios could affect the enforceability of prior deeds, impacting previous and possible current ownership of the property. 

Missing Heirs

When an individual passes away, typically the property is given to their heirs or those named in the will. Sometimes, however, the next of kin are missing or unknown at the time. Other times, disgruntled family members may contest the will to secure rights to the property. These cases, which can occur years after homeowners purchase the property, can affect your rights to the property. For these scenarios, it’s best to have the help of experienced title attorneys and a solid title insurance policy. 

Public Record Errors

It’s human nature to make mistakes. However, when these public record errors pertain to property ownership or real estate transactions, they can have widespread ramifications. Clerical or filing errors could potentially affect the deed or survey of the property and cause unnecessary financial strain on investors. A close title examination is the best way to catch these errors early. 

Title Examination FAQs

What Is A Property Title? 

A title is a right to ownership of specific real estate property and includes the right of possession, right of control, right of exclusion, the right of enjoyment, and right of disposition. Property titles can change hands through a will, court decree, law, or by selling the property. Any time a title is transferred it is recorded in a deed and filed with the county clerks.

What Is The Title Examination Process?

The exact title examination process differs for each property and potential buyer, but typically a real estate closing attorney will go through documents associated with the title to check for any outstanding debts or other issues that could affect the insurability of the property or pose a problem for future buyers including deed or ownership transfers, liens, and any related will documents.

Who Needs Title Insurance? 

Purchasing real estate is one of the biggest investments you can make — title insurance ensures that homeowners are protected against any issues with the title. Unless you are paying for your home out of pocket, your lender will more than likely require you to purchase title insurance.

What Is A Title Examination?

A title examination is a thorough inspection, search, and review of the property title’s history by the closing attorneys at Goosmann Rose Colvard & Cramer, P.A. During this examination, we go over the condition of the title, which refers to any issues, such as encumbrances and/or liens filed against the property or errors or defects.

Why Does A Title Examination Need To Be Conducted By An Attorney?

In The State of North Carolina, a title attorney is required by law to conduct a title search and real estate closing. A title insurance policy is only issued after the title company receives an examination report from an approved attorney.

What Is Title Insurance? 

A title insurance policy is a contract that protects potential homebuyers when various title defects arise such as unknown liens, illegal property deeds, forgeries, fraud, unknown heirs, and other hidden defects.