Justin Raber Attorney at Law

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Real estate deeds must be properly recorded

When purchasing a home or piece of property, the buyers may be overwhelmed with the number of documents and forms they must sign. The transfer of West Virginia real estate is a complicated matter, and in order to ensure the seller has the legal right to the property, careful examination of the title must be made. When this investigation is complete, the seller will sign the deed over to the new owners. However, what happens next?

Once the deed is properly signed and notarized, it should then be recorded in the county where the property is located in order to ensure its validity. This usually means that a county official, will add the new deed to the database for a small fee, which is often included in the buyers closing costs. Some jurisdictions do not require that a deed be recorded, but failing to do so may complicate matters for the buyer in the future. If a mortgage lender requires the buyer to purchase title insurance, the deed must be recorded.

Having a deed on file allows local tax collectors to bill the appropriate party for the taxes due on the property. Additionally, without a record of the deed, there is no public record of the transfer of property. This could be important if a dispute arises concerning who legally owns the property. If a deed is recorded after the unrecorded deed, the one on file may override any unrecorded deed.

Many people who purchase real estate in West Virginia have little experience with the legal details concerning the transfer of property. Without the assistance of an attorney, there is no guarantee that those details will be attended to with the proper diligence. Having an attorney to ensure the deed is appropriately recorded may prevent future issues that could jeopardize one's ownership of the property.

Source: homeguides.sfgate.com, "Does a Real Estate Deed Have to Be Filed & Recorded?", Accessed on Nov. 10, 2017

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