I am hearing a lot of investors these days say they just cannot find a deal.   It is time to start thinking outside the box again.  Some investors are going after estates and this is one area that you may have issue with true ownership of a property.  If you find yourself in a situation where no one can agree to the true owner of property this does not mean that the deal is dead.  You may just need to have an attorney assist you with a quiet title action.  An action to quiet title is a lawsuit filed to establish ownership of real property.  The plaintiff in a quiet title action seeks a court order that prevents the respondents from making any subsequent claim to the property.

One of the biggest issues in buying estate deals are missing heirs.  If all heirs cannot be located to agree to the conveyance, the property will need to go through a quiet title action. This can be a timely process and have higher costs associated with it. Be sure you discuss timelines and costs with your attorney or expert and build those into your projected P&L so you or your agent can negotiate the price of the sale accordingly.  Another reason an investor would use a quiet title would be when purchasing property at tax sale.  Most title companies shy away from title insuring tax sale transactions as there is no definite way to prove the previous owner was properly noticed to the sale. Unless a quiet title action is done do not expect the property to be title insurable for at least 12 to 24 months.  When you plan on buying and holding the property, you should always consult with an attorney to see what your options are before heading to the tax auctions. Keep in mind that unlike acquisition through a deed, a quiet title action will give the party seeking such relief no cause of action against previous owners of the property.  The exception is the plaintiff in the quiet title action who acquired its interest through a warranty deed and had to bring the action to settle the defects that existed when the warranty deed was delivered.

Quiet title actions do not “clear title” completely. They are actions for the purpose of clearing a particular, known claim or title defect.  2013 is here and fiscal cliff or not, debt ceiling issues or not, we have to keep finding ways to make good clean deals that make you money.  You may need to get creative in 2013 so it is more important than ever to have a good team in place to ensure that you are not putting your business at risk.  As always, follow all the rules to be sure you have a nice clean investment for your portfolio.

Remember, Chicago Title is here to help with anything you need and just a phone call away!