An essential part of any real estate transaction is ensuring that there’s clear title on a property. If you don’t, you can cause many legal or financial problems for both yourself and whoever you’re buying from or selling to. But what does it mean to have clear title? And why is it so important to make sure you have clear title before you buy or sell a property?
When a property has “clear title,” that means it is free from any legal or financial burdens that would impinge on the owner’s ability to transfer the title to another person. For example, if there is anyone else who claims to own the property aside from the person selling it, that would impinge on clear title. Alternately, if there was any part of a mortgage left unpaid on the property, that would also cause problems, as the bank that issued the mortgage would still have a financial stake in the property itself. A similar situation occurs if someone has taken a lien out on the property to secure an otherwise unrelated debt by the seller.
Establishing clear title is important because, in most real estate transactions involving so-called “warranty deeds,” the seller guarantees that the buyer will be able to freely enjoy the full property rights conveyed by the deed. Moreover, the seller will defend the buyer if those rights are ever contested. In other words, if someone sells real estate by warranty deed, and it later turns out there’s a problem with the title, that seller can be dragged into court by the buyer to defend the buyer’s right to own the property. The entire point of establishing clear title first, however, is to avoid that scenario in the first place.
If you are looking to buy or sell real estate, contact the skilled New York City real estate attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson-Williams. Please contact us online, toll-free (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a purchaser or seller and the options available to you.