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What the heck are “Title Defects?”

Posted by Kerry Hagan | Dec 11, 2023 | 0 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I found that I had a few spare, extra, unallocated minutes on my hands. It was sufficiently unusual that I looked down at my handy wristwatch to check out the time — it was 10:16 a.m. on a Tuesday. I said to myself, “self, what would people like to hear about on the blog?” The answer came pretty quickly: Title Defects!

Now,the first thing they teach you in law school is how to draft a deed. And the second thing they teach you is how to draft a correction deed to fix the deed you just messed up! 

The point is, of course, that pretty much everything can be fixed, the question is “what's it going to take to fix it?” If people agree and cooperate then fixing a title defect its virtually always an easy thing to do. I've had 1 situation involving a 1 acre tract, about 13 years ago, that couldn't be fixed — but it wasn't about land, it was about irrational & long-standing emotions between a step-mother and her step-son that wouldn't be resolved until one of them died. Other than that one instance, I haven't found ANYTHING that people have gotten so knotted & twisted up, as related to land titles, that it just can't be fixed. It can all be fixed. The secret is: discover and fix it up front and then negotiate the cost to fix (land lawyers use the term, “cure”) it by adjusting either the price for the land or the other terms of sale so everybody and everything is clear, disclosed, and allocated, right UP FRONT. Some folks may see the true reality of a "problem" deal, in the harsh light of day and say, “well, that makes the deal different for me.” And they may decide, “now that I see this proposed deal, warts and all, it's not something I want to pursue” and they bail out. That's good. There's nothing wrong with saying: this is not my cup of tea!” You know, knowledge is power. Our job is to DISCOVER, DEFINE and DISCLOSE. You are the one who gets empowered by us — so that you can accurately DECIDE what to do with the title information we give you. 

But if you are wondering about the “universe” of title problems discovered, in our thorough title examination, after they are defined and disclosed, we will “cure” them if they present a problem with your title. And just to be clear, we have had situations where BOTH SIDES say, “we are clear about the problem you have found and disclosed, but we both agree that we are NOT going to fix it — just prepare the sale documents but don't do the title cure.”  Our position is that this is wrong, it's JUST NOT RIGHT — and we WILL NOT do it. We won't prepare an agreement between the parties that perpetuates a known title defect by not curing it.

With a lawyer father, a legal secretary mother, and then almost 40 years dealing with these real estate title issues myself, starting in high school, I'm dedicated to FINDING any title defects related to your land title, and CURING them so you don't have problems down the road. Let us serve you so you never have the experience of learning up, close and personal, what a title defect really is! 

About the Author

Kerry Hagan

Attorney

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