Justin Raber Attorney at Law


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How do I know that my dream-home property has a clear title?

When you are in the process of buying a home in West Virginia, you naturally focus on whether the home meets your needs space wise, has the amenities you want and is in the perfect location. However, one of the most important parts of the home purchasing process is not necessarily one of the most glamorous, but it is still essential nonetheless: The title search.

If you are in the market for a home, purchasing a house with a clear title is of the utmost importance. An attorney should conduct a title examination to determine the history as well as the current condition of the property title, which refers to who owns and has the right to use the property.

What types of problems could a property title have?

One issue you may encounter with the title of a property involves previous ownership claims. A certain piece of land might have remained in the family for several generations, and the original owner of this land may be forgotten. In this situation, a person from the past might come back and claim an ownership interest in the property.

Another common issue with property titles is that liens might be placed on a property with the goal of forcing the owner of the property to pay off a debt. A lien is essentially like a small mortgage. All liens on a property have to be paid in order for the property to be sold.

Yet another potential problem with a real estate title is that a covenant of record might exist. This covenant is essentially a promise made by the original owner of the land to somebody else. The promise is written into every deed each time the house is sold. An example of a covenant of record is that the land owner may have promised to allow his or her neighbor to drive on the property.

How can an attorney help me when dealing with a property title?

An attorney can conduct a search of the condition of the property title and its status regarding liens, clouds and encumbrances in an effort to determine the marketability and legal condition of the title. Performing a title search requires an understanding of certain statues and laws in West Virginia. A knowledgeable attorney can examine a title for you in detail, thus giving you peace of mind as you proceed with your home purchase.

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