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Beware of title defects in commercial property deals

Purchasing a property for development is a big decision. It often requires a large sum of money and, no matter how well you prepare, brings with it at least some feeling of risk. This is your future – you don’t want anything to go wrong and derail your well-laid plans.

Which is why discovering a title defect can feel like such a blow. Suddenly, rather than having a clean title, you face potential complications with a property. So what types of title defects should you be aware of?

What an examination can turn up

There are many different types of title defects, and even more reasons why they may exist. Some examples of title defects include:

  • Public record errors
  • Missing heirs or undiscovered wills
  • Illegal records or forgeries
  • A boundary or survey dispute
  • Liens, easements or encumbrances that were unknown

Their existence is not always out in the open nor are they always easy to find. Uncovering them may require hiring someone to examine title plants or public records, such as mortgages, divorce decrees, tax records, wills and more.

What these defects can mean for the property

Practically speaking, a title defect may limit how you are able to use the property. Possible scenarios might include:

  • Someone having a deed or lease that gives them the right to possess the property
  • An easement allowing someone the right to access or pass through the land
  • A previous property owner having debt, and another party possessing a lien on the land because of it

Running into these title defects can be frustrating, and people often need an attorney to help resolve these issues. Surprises happen. But you don’t want to let someone else’s past decisions affect your own plans for the future.

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