Buying a home is – for most Americans – the single largest investment most people make in their lifetimes. As such, they want to protect this investment against things like extreme weather, theft, or fire. For many new homebuyers not represented by a real estate attorney, they fail to go beyond a title search and fail to understand the importance of title examinations as part of a comprehensive plan to protect their home investment.
Many problems can arise if the title to a property is not thoroughly and properly examined prior to the real estate closing. To uncover potential problems, a title search and examination should be conducted. To find out what problems could materialize and how to prevent their materialization, an overview of title examination is provided here.
What is a New York title examination?
A title search in New York is basically the process to verify that a seller can transfer ownership to the new buyer. The examination part of the process allows the buyer or lender to uncover any claims, errors, debts, and other restrictions on the property, including if in fact the seller truly does have the ability to transfer ownership.
The process involves the search of public records – including deeds, trusts, and wills – and to make sure title passed smoothly and without issue to each new owner of the respective property. It also involves close examination of the documents themselves to make sure fabrications and forgery and otherwise potential challenges to ownership are uncovered and addressed.
What hidden issues can a title examination uncover in New York?
There are many hidden issues that can arise from a close and complete title examination. It's already been alluded to, but if a title examination is conducted by an experienced, knowledgeable real estate attorney, the following may be discovered:
- mistakes made in the public records
- improperly executed instruments (e.g., documents executed by a person posing as a power of attorney)
- an heir – previously unknown – claiming ownership
- forged documents, like a fake signature on a deed.
When things like the above or any other issue arise during a title examination, the matter can be effectively addressed – even if that means the property is ultimately not purchased. This at least saves you a lot of headaches later and you can move on to find another property with a clean title.
How do you prevent these title problems from materializing in New York?
The only way to prevent title issues from creating roadblocks to the purchase of your largest investment is this: retaining an experienced New York real estate attorney who understands the importance of a title examination and conducts a comprehensive and thorough examination of the title.
Without title examination, you could end up expending a lot of wasted time, energy, and money on a piece of property that can never be yours.