This question comes to us today from Alan S. of Harperwoods. He writes:
“I purchased a home at the City’s tax sale and now I have found that I cannot get title insurance. I cannot sell the property by any deed and wonder why would I do anything to the property until I can comfortably sell it. My real estate agent says that I have to get an attorney to quiet the title. What does this mean?”
A quiet title action is a lawsuit to establish an owner’s title to real property against anyone and everyone, and therefore “quiet” any challenges or claims to a property’s title. These suits usually arises when there is some question about clear title, there exists some recorded problem (such as an old mortgage, a deed, an error in the legal description which clouds or questions a property’s marketability. Or in your case Alan, clear title is always in question after a property goes to tax sale.
When it comes to a tax sale there is a lengthy and complicated legal process that the government taxing authority uses to disenfranchise or cut the property rights of a property owner who fails to pay their property taxes. Property rights are constitutional rights and therefore government compliance with the proper tax foreclosure process is highly suspect.
Once the property goes to tax sale, the title companies and subsequent purchasers from the bidder will want to ensure that the legal process has been followed before they will either insure or buy the property respectively.
Tax sales, are just one type of the various problems that can affect title, but the process to file a law suit begins the same way. We look at the title search to see who has the purported legal interest that is in direct conflict with a clients ownership interests.
When owners contact me, it is usually because the title problems can not be rectified outside of court, but that does not mean my staff and I wont first investigate once more if there are alternatives to filing a lawsuit that would clear a lien. If not, then we file our action against those interests that affect our clients marketability of title. The action, if not challenged, can take about 90 days. If the action is contested, then plan on a longer time line to resolve the matter.
In a quiet title action, no title problem is ever the same as another. Therefore, it is always best to have a real estate attorney review and discuss with you, your title issues because they present themselves in so many forms, too many and usually too involved to discuss here.
I hope you found this video helpful. I encourage you to view, like and share more of our videos concerning real estate and contract law at ProvenResource.com Please feel free to leave your comments and share your feedback about this video and definitely write in the comment section what legal topics that you are concerned about. Thanks for watching.