One of the safest practices a person can do when looking at purchasing a piece of property is to do a background investigation on the location in question.
Uncovering any mistakes or undocumented transfers of the real estate and liens beforehand can save time and money if a problem exists which could later rise up to sink the deal.
A visit to the county courthouse where the property is located will aid in gathering information that can be helpful in the future. Some county courthouses have databases for searching on line. In person research can take advantage of the fact that county records department hold a wealth of information about a person or location.
The courthouse keeps copies of county activities and the records are available for public research. Just ask the records department and they will let a person spend all day in the record’s room. There is usually a small charge for the courthouse to make copies.
Research the address of the property. Search for maps and the survey of the property lines, deeds and transfers of rights for the property. These documents can go back to when the property was first claimed by the United States of America!
Look at the names and dates of activity for the property and begin building a paper trail or time line for the location. Search for tax records, probate documents and any items attached to the property go back in time as far as possible.
Next go to the public library in the town or county where the property is located to research the library achieves for newspapers and town records with the address for any information related to the property. Court records are published in newspapers as are other documents that may uncover other illegal transfers of the property that may prove to be supporting evidence for seeking a remedy.
Not only is this type of research helpful for proving who owns the property and when actions took place at the location but also often very interesting items arise about the history of the property. For instance the land may have been a part of a civil war land grant to a solider or the building may have housed a famous person or organization.
Once the history of the deeds and transfers are complete then there can be no argument as to who legally owns the property and who has legal right to sell or transfer the property.
If the most recent deed of transfer description or ownership does not match the deed and transfer that took place before the most recent to the exact wording then there is a problem.
If the property lines do not match then there should be maps showing a correction, if not be wary.
If another property is listed on the county map where the property in question is deed for then the address is incorrect.
If the seller is not listed as the legal owner at the time of sell then they can not legally transfer the property. No matter what story or paperwork they produce.
Realtors and county offices do not always double check for typos and mistakes on paperwork or records which can easily happen when people are rushed or under pressure. A mistake on a land deed can result in major financial and emotional cost years later when the unknowing home owner sells or passing the home onto heirs.
Related articles by Zemanta
Kitsap County Scrambling to Deal With Dip in Real Estate Tax Collections(kitsapsun.com)
Ariz. court discovers original OK Corral papers(seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Published in: Personal Finance