If you are looking to buy a piece of real estate to develop, you need to ensure you have clarity over its current ownership. You need to be certain that once you sign the papers no one else will be able to claim they own it or that they have some sort of right of usage.
Many properties have minor title issues. Perhaps the current owner has lived with those issues for years and not been too bothered by them, or maybe they have only come to light when you were doing your research before agreeing to buy.
Discovering an issue does not mean the end of the deal
A quiet title action may be all you need to resolve the issue. It is a civil legal process where you ask the court to clarify something you are uncertain about. For example:
- Was the lien that still shows on the records actually cleared as the owner claims? Or is it still relevant?
- Is the neighbor correct when they say the fenceline is a meter too far to their side? Or are they trying it on?
- Does the local fishing club really have access over your land to that stretch of water for the next 50 years? Or will their right to access die when the ownership changes hands?
Anyone with an interest in a property can bring a quiet title action. So you can either do it yourself as a potential buyer or ask the current owner to bring it. Once you know where you stand, you can examine what, if any, steps to take next.