The gold standard for titles, is called a merchantable title.  It is not a title free of all defects, but one that is unlikely to give rise to litigation, for no one buys real estate to have their title challenged.

JohnMenszer2-Exposure-2151It is a title that a knowledgeable and prudent buyer would be likely to accept.  That is all we can hope for in real estate law transactions.  We do not live in a perfect world. What makes a title un-merchantable?  There are any number of possible clouds on a title.  Some are easily fixed and some are not.

  1. Un-cancelled or un-released mortgages.
  2. Judgments or judicial mortgages.
  3. Materialmen’s and mechanics’ liens.
  4. Administrative penalties or fines.
  5. Public Health and Code Enforcement liens.
  6. Federal IRS liens.
  7. Tax sales and unpaid property taxes.
  8. Minor’s mortgages and Judicial or Surety Bonds.
  9. Property interests in the the names of people that were not accounted for or transferred to the present owner.
  10.  Encroachments.  Survey issues.
  11. Lis pendens notice which indicates litigation involving the property.
  12. Zoning violations.
  13. Erroneous property descriptions, unsigned deeds.
  14. Lack of corporate capacity.