A Suit to Quiet Title is filed to confirm the ownership of the tax sale purchaser and put to rest any potential claims of the former owner or lien holder in the property. Most tax sale purchasers who hire me view the title suit as part of a business venture. Their philosophy is to make a return on their investment. My aim is to provide cost effective legal representation in these matters of quieting tax sales.
This matters because tax sale properties are auctioned by the City of New Orleans in batches and it is not always possible to verify that the sales were conducted with all the proper steps. Another factor is that a real estate abstract may reveal that the owner’s title already had clouds on it. For this and other reasons as a rule of thumb a tax sale title, even if confirmed by a Suit to Quiet the Title, may not be merchantable in the way most of us are familiar with. It is usually not possible to obtain title insurance from an approved title insurance company in Louisiana on a tax sale property even after the legal work is done.
The effects of this may include the following: the tax sale purchase may not be able to get a construction loan on the property and a third party purchase may not be able to get a mortgage to finance his acquisition from the tax sale purchaser.
There is an expression that applies to tax sales – “Caveat Emptor” as the Romans used to say or “Buyer Beware.” All this said, tax sales can be bargains because they may cost a fraction of the property’s worth.
My goal is to deliver the best title I can to my clients given the circumstances. This requires a search of the public records and a flexible strategy to address each potential issue or defect. My goal is to keep my clients informed about each step in the process.