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Clear Title Defects in FloridaClear Title Defects in Florida

How to Clear Title Defects in Florida?

25 Jun 2021

When it comes to real estate, the title of a property refers to its legal ownership. Hence, if a property in Florida is titled in the name of a specific individual, it means he/she has the right to own, occupy and use the space.

Accordingly, title defects are a threat to the ownership of a property, especially in situations involving unknown heirs or third-party claims. 

In this article, you will discover how to clear title defects in Florida

How to Clear Title Defects in Florida – Real World Examples

Title defects can cause real trouble for whatever parties are involved in a real estate transaction. In many situations, a defect can make a title unmarketable, meaning the seller cannot sell or trade it unless the defect is cleared. 

On the other hand, title defects expose buyers to unexpected liabilities that can generate financial loss and stress. Depending on the issue, sometimes a buyer may lose his/her property due to a title defect.

To demonstrate a possible situation, let us utilize a fictional case for illustration. Let us say an individual called Marlene bought a home from a widow located in Sarasota. Marlene liked the house from day one and thought it could be her home for decades. 

However, a year later, things started to get weird. Suddenly, an estranged son of the widow’s deceased husband comes out of nowhere and claims the property was willed to him 20 years ago. 

Hence, after a detailed examination, the estranged son manages to prove that he has the legal right to own the property. In this context, even though Marlene had nothing to do with the family situation, she lost ownership of her property due to a title defect. 

Clearing the Title of a Property in Florida – The Basics 

When a title is not properly researched and cleared of all defects before the closing, all parties involved in the transaction are exposed to risk. However, the most exposed party tends to be the buyer, as he/she may have to assume a liability that is not theirs. 

Fortunately, there are several useful measures to clear title defects or at least protect against the risk of issues that are not easily cleared. 

Identifying the Existing Defects  

First, it is crucial to identify any title defect before the real estate transaction is still going on. 

In Florida, it is not possible to sell any property without having a clear title. Accordingly, any type of lien or encumbrance that questions the legal ownership of a property can make a title unmarketable in Florida. 

To discover any defects associated with a title, it is fundamental to proceed with a title search before signing the purchase agreement at closing. 

A title search is an in-depth examination in which a title examiner will search public records to find title defects that include:

  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Judgments attached to a property
  • Easements
  • Liens
  • Boundary disputes
  • Undiscovered last will
  • Missing heirs
  • Ownership claims to the property
  • Restrictions 

Once the examiner completes the task, he/she will issue a detailed report with all defects found during the title search process. 

Working with an Expert Title Agent 

Once the title search is finished, it is time to deal with the issues displayed in the title report. Different defects require different solutions, so the best way to deal with them is by working with an expert title agent. 

Besides helping you to handle all necessary paperwork and bureaucracy involved in the process, a seasoned title agent will offer valuable insights and provide strategies to eliminate the burden associated with title defects. 

Purchasing Title Insurance 

A title search is essential, but it will identify only recorded defects. In many cases, it is not possible to identify some defects associated with a property’s title, such as undiscovered encumbrances, missing heirs, unknown easements, etc.

In this case, the best approach is to purchase a title insurance policy and secure against any undetected defects that may affect the title in the future. 

However, no title policy offer coverage for defects like zoning problems, boundary line disputes, post-policy claims, and environmental protection laws. 

Hence, buyers must stay alert and pay attention to discover and solve any similar title issues while there is still available time.

We Can Help You Cleaning Your Title in Florida – Work with Marina Title Today 

Do you want to have full, valid, and undisputed ownership rights when buying a property in Florida? At Marina Title, we have a team of title experts to guide you. 

Waste no time exposing yourself to risk. Call us today at (305) 901-5628 or send us an email at Romy@MarinaTitle.com to schedule a consultation.

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