The Experts Involved in Property Transfer
Land is a treasured commodity. Those who own land are very vehement about protecting their ownership and their right to use the property to earn money or simply to live the lifestyle they desire. As a result, property ownership is a very detailed legal activity, and changing ownership of a piece of property is a complex process.
Like any such process, there are experts in both the private and public sector who are able to assist you in getting through the required steps for a seamless, trouble-free transfer of land.
Identifying the Property
The first thing you must do is be able to identify the exact boundaries of the land in question. This requires more than simply writing up a description. You will need a land surveyor to review the existing deed and to complete a survey of the property that flags or otherwise marks the boundaries of the land.
Precision is essential. Even the slightest error can create massive headaches down the road because the survey of your land must match up with those of adjoining land. If it doesn’t, there will be conflicts at some point, either when neighboring land is sold or when an activity like timber harvest is initiated.
This is another step that is actually more complicated than you might think. Every county or parish in the United States has a county clerk, recorder, or another official who maintains custody of all types of legal documents for the county, including deeds.
These deeds are the binding instruments that establish ownership. It doesn’t matter what the current “owner” says if it isn’t verified on that deed. There may be other heirs who are still on the deed from a will that was executed years ago. There could be contested boundaries.
To be sure that the person who is selling you the land has the right to do so, you’ll need to work with your county officials and potentially a real estate attorney to be sure that you know exactly who owns the land.
Verifying a Clear Deed
Another piece of vital information is whether anything is owed on the property, or if there are liens against it. There are many different ways that these restrictions can be created. If property taxes have been delinquent, the bill may have been paid by an outside entity which can then file a lien requiring that they be repaid with interest before the property can be transferred.
A contractor can also place a lien if work was left unpaid, requiring that the bill is taken care of before the land can sell. There may also be mortgages on the land, and even if they are paid in full, they must be released before the land can sell.
That is just the beginning, and it’s becoming clear by now that you will need an attorney to help you take care of this step. Experienced real estate lawyers will know all the right places to search in order to be sure that everyone with a stake in the property is identified.
The purchase of land is a long-term commitment. It is a massive financial and legal obligation, and it is one that must be set up correctly from the very beginning in order to avoid complications down the road. Mistakes can create protracted legal battles that can quickly generate huge legal bills, all for want of an effectively-managed process of transfer in the very beginning.
Any business, individual, or partnership that intends to purchase land must be sure not just to follow these steps but also to do so with the assistance of experienced, qualified experts.