The reason why you need a Jacksonville real estate attorney to assist you when purchasing real estate is to ensure that the property you are purchasing is free and clear of any liens, title defects, encumbrances, or disputes. Our attorney performs a thorough and comprehensive title examination to look for title defects or “clouds” on the title that prevent you from receiving the fee simple title under a General Warranty Deed.
If a title defect is discovered, our Jacksonville Quiet Title attorney can work with you to resolve the defects in the title so that you can purchase the property of your dreams. Our title defect attorneys also work with sellers to resolve title problems before closing so that there are no issues that could delay or prevent the real estate closing.
If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to take advantage of our free consultation with a Jacksonville title defect attorney. Call (904) 248-4482 for your free case review.
What is a Title Defect?
A title defect is a claim against the property that prevents the owner from using and possessing the property without interference from another party. Examples of title defects that could prevent a seller from transferring fee simple title with all the warranties provided by a General Warranty deed include:
- Mortgages, mechanic’s liens, judgments, tax liens, and other encumbrances that attach to the real estate
- Adverse possession claims
- Claims of ownership in the property
- Missing heirs in a probate estate and open probate estates
- Claims of fraudulent conveyances
- Boundary disputes, including disputes for easements and rights-of-ways
- Survey matters, such as encroachments, large easements, train tracks, burial sites, etc.
- Foreclosure or tax deeds
- Gaps in the chain of title
The above list is not an exhaustive list of the title defects that could prevent a settler from conveying clear title. An experienced Jacksonville real estate lawyer should always conduct a title examination and review each issue to determine if the title defect can be resolved or if a Quiet Title Action should be filed.
What is a Quiet Title Action?
If the examination of the chain of title for the property reveals one or more title defects, we must begin working to determine the best ways to resolve the defects. In some cases, our legal team must track down a prior owner to have his wife execute a Quit Claim Deed to ensure she is not claiming any interest in the property. We routinely contact lien holders to determine if a lien is still valid or if the lien can be released because the debt was paid. In some cases, a corrective deed is sufficient to resolve the title defect. Unfortunately, some title defects can only be resolved through litigation.
When a title defect cannot be resolved outside of the courtroom, our Jacksonville real estate attorney may advise you that your only recourse is to file a Quiet Title Action. This action begins with the filing of a complaint with the circuit court that has jurisdiction over the county in which the property is located. The purpose of the lawsuit is to notify all interested parties that the current owner of the property is asserting full ownership rights. Any parties that may have a claim or interest in the property are directed to assert their claims now or lose the right to do so in the future. In other words, come forward now to be heard by the judge, or you lose any right or interest you have in the property forever.
With a Quiet Title Action, you can terminate or “quiet” any individual, company, or entity that may claim an interest in your property. Once the process is complete, you then own free and clear title to the property. In some cases, a Quiet Title lawsuit is the only way for a seller to obtain clear title to transfer to a purchaser.
Conveying Fee Simple Title Through a Warranty Deed
Ultimately, if you are purchasing a piece of real estate, you want to receive a General Warranty Deed from the seller. Through a General Warranty Deed, the seller is certifying to the buyer that:
- The seller is the rightful owner of the property, he is authorized to transfer the property, and he has the legal right to transfer the property;
- The seller has made known to the buyer all liens, mortgages, and encumbrances attached to the property that are known to the seller;
- There are no title defects known to the seller that interferes with the buyer’s right to own, use, and possess the property without interference; and,
- The seller agrees to defend the purchaser against any actions or damages by another person claiming an interest in the property.
If the seller wishes to transfer title under any other type of deed, you need to discuss the matter with our Jacksonville real estate attorney immediately.
Contact Our Jacksonville Real Estate Attorney for More Information
For a free consultation with a Jacksonville real estate lawyer, call (904) 248-4482 or contact The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. by using the form above.