Anyone that has been a part of a real estate transaction, either as a buyer or seller, has heard their Realtor, lawyer, or other professional use the word “title.” With all of the terminology that gets thrown around during any given real estate transaction, it’s easy to lose track of what’s what. But real estate customers and investors in Virginia should know about the most important part of the transaction: the title.
What is the title?
When a real estate professional talks about a “title,” they are referring to the legal ownership of a piece of property and the right to use that property for any reason within the realm of the local law. Possessing a title to a piece of real estate gives the holder the ability to inhabit, rent, sell, or otherwise use the property in whatever way they deem beneficial.
Occasionally, there are issues that come up when a title search, the search that reveals if the seller of a property holds full ownership of it, is conducted. These issues, referred to as “clouds,” can create a huge issue when a property is being sold. These clouds can come in the form of liens, easements, or old ownership claims.
What can be done?
Fortunately, the presence of a cloud on a title does not render the property unsellable. While it does slow the process down by a large margin, clouds can be removed. Liens, which are essentially unpaid bills where the property has been viewed as collateral can be paid in order to resolve the cloud.
Past ownership clouds can be a bit trickier to resolve, as some property has been passed through a family for generations. Over the course of time, it’s possible to lose track of an individual who may have had a small ownership stake in a given property. There are still legal steps that can be taken concerning such issues.
The presence of a real estate attorney who is well-versed in their state’s real estate laws can help in the removal of clouds. This attorney can work with their client to ensure that the title is clean, and the property fully belongs to them.