The Impact Of An Incorrect Title And How To Correct The Error

8-22-18 Proper title blog.jpg

Today’s real estate landscape is a highly competitive one. It is not uncommon for  sellers to receive an offer on their home within a day of it going on the market. Real estate purchases sometimes start off in a bidding war, with many offers on the table for the sellers to consider.

With such a competitive market, buyers are more frequently going the extra step to draft a letter to the sellers, explaining why they love the home and offer assurance that the property will be well maintained should their offer be accepted. 

As an Eager Buyer, Imagine This Scenario:

You’ve been searching for your forever home for months, diligently combing through your MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings for a house that checks off all your boxes. You find several homes that match your wish list and fit your criteria. You schedule viewings, sometimes taking time off work to do so. After all, you want to make the transition into your new home quickly — you’ve been waiting for this for a long time!

When you finally find your perfect home, you’re elated. This is the house you can see yourself living in for many, many years to come. After submitting your offer and having it accepted, you will go through the loan approval stage and have an appraisal and survey completed. All the while, the title company is working on their end to make sure they can issue title insurance.

Unfortunately, you may soon learn that previous deeds are incorrect, for example, making the issuance of title insurance a little difficult.

The first thing to do if this occurs is  to take a deep breath, because deed mistakes are not unheard of, they are  actually fairly common. If such a mistake is discovered, there are ways to correct the deed and continue with the purchase of your new home and have clean title to go along with it!

But Let’s Start at the Beginning: What Exactly Is a Deed?

A deed is a legal document that is recorded in the public record. A deed transfers the ownership of a property from one party to another. A recording of deed transfers can show a mistake as early as the beginning of a property’s history.

A correct deed is required for title insurance, or you may be left with a portion of your property not covered by insurance. We can look into the chain of title to get a better idea of the extent of the deed mistake, and what your best options will be to correct the error.

Why Is a Chain of Title Important?

A chain of title is the history of title transfers to a property. It is important for the chain of title to be examined to see who currently owns the property, and if there are other items such as easements, restrictions, or other interests that may be a part of the property. Through an examination of title, you will be able to learn if there is a current mortgage on the property and if there are other parties who are part owners.

How Can You Make Corrections to Mistakes on a Deed?

Scrivener’s Affidavit

Sometimes deed corrections are simple and straightforward. With minor mistakes, a surveyor who completes the survey on your property, an attorney, or the preparer of the original deed may be able to sign an affidavit stating that the legal description has an error, called a “Scrivener’s Affidavit”.

A Scrivener’s Affidavit is recorded in public records and adds information to the property records to help clarify an issue with the prior deed(s).

If a Scrivener’s Affidavit is all that is necessary, title insurance can be issued in full on the  property. During the recording of the deed showing the transfer of ownership to you, as the new owner, the deed will be updated to show the correction.

However, if there is not enough evidence in public records to prove a scrivener’s error, a corrective deed may be required.

Corrective Deed

A “Corrective Deed” is necessary to fix more complicated problems in deeds that have already been recorded. A Corrective Deed will not transfer ownership; instead, a Corrective Deed corrects documents related to prior interests in the property. All prior owners of the property since the mistake appeared must sign the corrective instrument so the proper documents can be on file in public records.

Ask a Florida Real Estate Attorney for Assistance

If you are thinking about buying property or are currently in the home buying process, contact the knowledgeable real estate attorneys at Kira Doyle Law to see how we can help. As part of closing, we will review all closing documents and examine the title for any restrictions or issues that could affect title insurance and your loan. To get started, call our St. Petersburg office at 727-537-6818 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced real estate attorneys today!

Let’s make your new home purchase as smooth and exciting of an event as possible!

Real EstateKira Doyle