At Estavillo Law Group, we understand how stressful title problems can be. We’ve helped numerous clients resolve title defects and dispute issues involving their real property, and we may be able to help you, too. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
In today’s real estate market, finding a property that fits your needs and falls within your price range is almost a rarity. And even when you do find one, there’s a good chance you’re not the only person interested.
To beat out other prospective buyers, you may decide to forego due diligence; your real estate agent may even encourage this urgency. Although moving quickly can help you secure a property, it’s a risky move—especially if you fail to research the property title.
In the worst-case scenario, you may find yourself in a situation where you’ve bought a property that has a title defect or ownership dispute. You may find you’re not the outright owner of the home or commercial property and be forced to give it up without any hope of recouping your financial losses.
This is why, even in a stressed marketplace, you should always work with a trusted real estate law firm when dealing with any ownership disputes. If you’ve already purchased a property with a title defect, don’t panic—a title defects and disputes lawyer may be able to help.
This article will explore the nature of title defects and disputes, including what causes them, how they can be resolved and why you should partner with an experienced real estate attorney in your journey toward resolution.
Are you dealing with a defective or disputed title? You need to act fast to protect your claim. The title defects and disputes lawyers at Estavillo Law Group are standing by to help. Contact our law firm online to schedule a case evaluation or give us a call at (800) 982-0599 today.
What Is a Title Defect?
A title is a document that conveys legal ownership over a property. That ownership comes with many rights, perhaps the most important of which is the ability to sell the property. Whenever a property is sold, the title is transferred to the new owner, along with the rights of ownership—assuming that the title is clean.
However, when a title is defective, those defects prevent the new title owner from exercising their ownership rights until the defects are resolved. A title defect is essentially a threat to an owner’s full right to claim or sell a property and may refer to a publicly recorded issue such as a lien, mortgage or judgment that gives another party a claim to the property.
It’s important to understand that working with a reputable title company isn’t always enough to prevent title defects from surfacing in the future. Even trusted title companies don’t catch everything, and title insurance, despite offering certain protections, is unlikely to cover all of your losses in the event of a serious dispute.
Common Causes of a Title Dispute
When discovered, a title defect often results in a title dispute—a disagreement about property ownership. Common causes of a title dispute include the following:
- Errors in the public records of the property
- Liens for child support, past-due spousal support or other reasons
- Bankruptcies or delinquent taxes
- Unlawful foreclosure
- Undiscovered encumbrances or unknown easements
- Survey and boundary disputes, as well as zoning and land use issues
- Missing heirs or undiscovered wills
- Illegal deeds, forgeries or false impersonation of a previous owner
Fraud and forgery cases involving disgruntled spouses can also lead to title defects, specifically when one spouse forges the signature of the other on a legal document or deed. According to the American Land Title Association, this type of fraud is becoming a more common cause for title defects and disputes.
How Title Disputes Are Resolved
After a title owner becomes aware of a defect, dispute or other issue, it’s in their best interest to resolve it as quickly as possible. In some situations, they may be able to resolve the dispute informally without involving attorneys. However, this is only possible when there is cooperation between the parties involved.
When there isn’t a shared goal or cooperation between parties, it’s essential to partner with an experienced title defects and disputes lawyer in California. It’s important to know that not all real estate lawyers are equally qualified to oversee dispute resolution or real estate litigation, which is why it’s essential to partner with an attorney who has successfully resolved disputes like yours.
How a Title Disputes Attorney Can Help
In situations involving title issues, a title disputes attorney can do what someone should have been doing from the very beginning: looking out for your best interests.
An experienced title defects and disputes lawyer may use a number of strategies to help you find a resolution, including the following:
- Negotiation or mediation. Your attorney may be able to facilitate a meeting with the other parties involved and their attorneys in which you’re able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
- Quiet title action. Pursuing a “quiet title” action or lawsuit may be your next course of action if negotiations fail. This legal action is designed to establish property owners by asking the court to examine the evidence and determine the rightful owner.
- Adverse possession claim. If you’ve openly and continuously lived on the property for years, your attorney may be able to help you claim ownership through the legal doctrine of adverse possession.
- Partition actions. If your property dispute is between a co-owner, your attorney may pursue partition actions. This typically involves selling the property and distributing the proceeds among co-owners, thereby resolving disputes over ownership.
These are just a few of the ways in which a skilled attorney may be able to resolve your property dispute. The strategy they use will depend heavily on the particular details of your situation.
Estavillo Law Group: Trusted Title Disputes Attorney in Orange County
Purchasing a property only to find out you may not be the rightful owner is a nightmare scenario that no buyer should have to go through. Unfortunately, it does happen, and buyers can suffer significant losses—especially when they fail to secure legal representation.
If you’ve discovered a title defect or become aware of a property dispute, you need to address it swiftly. Unsure how to get started? We’ve got you covered. The title defects and real estate disputes attorneys at Estavillo Law Group have helped numerous clients find resolution, and we may be able to help you, too.
Getting started with us is easy. Simply contact us online to schedule a free consultation or call our law office at (800) 982-0599 to speak with a compassionate attorney today.