Owning real estate feels like one of the surest things in American law. What happens, though, if someone fraudulently tries to take control of or misuse the title for a property? Here are three steps a real estate attorney will likely tell you to take.
Contact the County
Every county maintains a registry of the properties in its jurisdiction. If you believe that you are the victim of title fraud, it's a good idea to retain real estate attorney services and initiate a title search right away.
The county will provide you with information about the current state of the title. Likewise, they can also provide you with the details of all of the historic transactions involving the property. This covers everything from land surveys to liens, and the information usually goes back at least to whenever the county was incorporated.
If you need them to send you copies of documents, you may have to pay some fees. However, a real estate attorney will strongly encourage you to obtain these files.
Documents the Signs that Fraud Occurred
People often don't discover title frauds until long after the crime has happened. For example, some people might misrepresent themselves as a property's owner to leverage it for a loan. You might not learn about this misrepresentation until the issuing bank for the loan sends foreclosure paperwork to the county and the county sends a sheriff to notify you.
Whenever you receive any paperwork indicating that fraud has occurred, make your best effort to collect it and make copies. If a law enforcement officer serves papers, ask them if they know anything about what's going on. Also, ask them for their contact information. Legal officers may be able to attest to certain aspects of the fraud.
It's also a good idea to conduct an immediate review of your creditor reports. If someone hit you with fraud once, they may have done it several more times.
A real estate attorney will file paperwork with the court to correct the mistake. If you have title insurance, you'll want to confirm the state of your policy, too, because you may have to file a claim.
Ideally, the problem is caught in time and a judge can order the county to fix the title. A lawyer will also ask the court to freeze the title while everything is ironed out. However, there are scenarios where homeowners have to sue people who've acquired properties from the perpetrators of such frauds. Contact a real estate attorney for more information.Share