Posted on Friday, December 15th, 2023

man signing paperwork, new home in backgroundA defect ‘clouds’ a real estate title in Florida, leading to complications in a transaction. Such complications pose significant challenges for buyers and sellers, potentially leaving the seller liable for damages. Identifying title defects requires a detailed investigation of the property’s history and legal standing, and having a real estate attorney in Orlando can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of real estate transactions, ensuring legal compliance, and protecting your interests.

Defects in Real Estate Titles

Having title defects in Florida real estate means that legal issues with the property’s title can affect the owner’s ability to sell or transfer the property. Title defects can vary in nature and severity but commonly include:

  • Liens or Judgments: These are legal claims against the property due to unpaid debts, like mortgages, homeowner association dues, or judgments from lawsuits.
  • Encumbrances: These are restrictions or covenants that limit how the property can be used or affect the owner’s rights. They could be easements allowing utility companies access to a part of the property or restrictive covenants dictating architectural styles or land use.
  • Illegal Deeds: Previous deeds may have been made by undocumented immigrants, minors, or persons of unsound mind, making them invalid.
  • Missing Heirs or Unresolved Estates: If previous owners passed away without a clear will, the heirs may have claims to the property.
  • Boundary or Survey Disputes: Discrepancies in property boundaries can cause disputes and affect ownership.

Having such defects means that the title to the property is not ‘clear’ or ‘free and clear,’ which can complicate or even prevent a real estate transaction. If defects are discovered, they typically need to be resolved before the transaction can proceed.

Identifying Defects in a Real Estate Title

To determine if a real estate title in Florida has defects, there are several steps you can take. Understanding the importance of consulting an Orlando real estate attorney in this process is crucial.

  • Title Search: Conduct a thorough title search through public records. This reveals past deeds, wills, trusts, divorce decrees, court judgments, liens, encumbrances, and tax records related to the property.
  • Review Property History: Look into the chain of title, which is the property’s ownership history. Ensure that each transfer of the property was done legally and correctly.
  • Check for Liens and Encumbrances: Liens, like those from unpaid mortgages, taxes, or homeowners’ associations, can affect the title. Encumbrances may include easements or restrictions on how the property can be used.
  • Boundary and Survey Issues: Review any surveys to ensure there are no disputes regarding property boundaries.
  • Unresolved Legal Issues: Look for any pending legal actions or claims that could affect the title, such as disputes over wills or inheritance.

While title defects can complicate Florida real estate transactions, they do not always halt them. The key is how the defects are handled, the severity of the issues, and the parties’ willingness to work towards a resolution.

Continuing the Transaction With Identified Title Defects

If a real estate title in Florida is found defective, several steps are typically taken to address these issues. The resolution process can vary depending on the nature of the title defect. This includes:

  • Resolution Process: Transactions often proceed if the parties involved are proactive in addressing the defects.
  • Buyer’s Willingness to Proceed: Some buyers are willing to accept certain risks or might negotiate a lower purchase price in light of the defects.
  • Seller’s Ability to Resolve Issues: The transaction will likely proceed if the seller can quickly clear up the issues.

If you need legal assistance handling title defects in Florida, contact our Orlando real estate attorneys at Nishad Khan, P.L. today.