Millstone Township, NJ 08535,
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Release Date:Thursday, May 08, 2014
Media Contact: Christine Ziomek (201) 796-7788
Professional Title Searcher Assists Clients With Property Transactions
MILLSTONE TWP., N.J., May 8, 2014 – Discovering a cloud on title while researching property ownership may not be an uncommon occurrence but it can pose a significant problem that would need to be remedied, according to Bridget Lauer, director of property research for CW Solutions, a real estate services firm serving the utilities, wireless and telecommunications industries. Property often has a long and convoluted history of previous owners and transactions, making it vital for a keen examiner to uncover any defects during a title search.
A title search can be straightforward but many times it’s not. In her tenure with CW Solutions, Lauer has unearthed a variety of hidden problems for utility clients looking to obtain easement rights to property. Resolving issues requires an action to “quiet title,” which can range from simply paying off a tax lien to taking legal action.
“The main reason for running title on a piece of property is to identify the current owner and any exceptions,” Lauer explains. “A search allows us to obtain accurate information so that we can determine if the property has any restrictions, encumbrances or easements which would prevent a client from moving forward on a new cell tower or collocation.”
In an interview with Lauer, she gives examples of the types of title defects that can occur and how to successfully remove those clouds.
Q: What are some examples of clouds on title?
A: During that search, any defects found might invalidate or impair the title, rendering it unmarketable. The following are some of the most common:
- An open mortgage also known as an outstanding mortgage
- A property tax lien where a legal claim has been made against the property for unpaid property taxes or unpaid utilities
- Errors on deeds, of which there can be several including mistakes in legal descriptions, not an acknowledged property, and scrivener’s errors also known as clerical errors
- Missing a conveyance in the deed chain
Q: Are there instances where a deed is not properly recorded?
A: Yes, failure to record a deed could be a significant problem and there are a number of reasons why this can occur. In most cases it’s an oversight on the part of the parties executing the deed or document. There are numerous reasons for it to occur such as an attorney forgot to send it to the County; a deed was rejected and sent back to the attorney and then not refiled with corrections; or a deed was just never filed.
Q: How does an owner get clear title to property?
A: There are many different ways of clearing a cloud on title depending on the scenario. For example, suppose a property owner was trying to refinance and came across an older mortgage that was still open but should’ve been cancelled of record. The homeowner must then locate the documentation from the previous closing, and contact the original Title Agency that prepared the HUD 1 Closing Statement, which would indicate a payoff of that initial mortgage.
In this case, the property owner should reach out to the Title Agency for help. The property owner can also contact the bank holding their mortgage and provide them with specific information. It’s important to maintain records that include your loan and/or account numbers. With this information, the bank should be able to locate the closed mortgage and expedite the filing of a cancellation.
Q: What is another example of clearing a cloud on title?
A: Imagine that during the course of refinancing, a property owner runs title and finds that a sales tax certificate is still open from unpaid property taxes. The property owner would need to either have proof that it was paid or they would have to pay it off at closing.
Q: Have you ever come across an interesting scenario while working with clients?
A: Recently, we came across a telecommunications site with several open mortgages. A couple of them were from previous foreclosures so they were easily removed/omitted from title. But one of the mortgages was open and the property owner insisted that it had been paid off. When we double-checked the county records, it was still open of record. Once the property owner was able to provide me with information from the attorney’s office that had closed on that loan, I was able to rectify the situation by obtaining a signed HUD statement and a payoff check that was stamped. Although this was proof enough for us, the issue did not go away solely with this information. It’s the property owner’s responsibility to either contact the bank or contact the attorney that closed on the loan to make sure the cancellation is filed. If this is not done, it will continue to show up in title as an open mortgage.
Issues such as height restrictions, delinquent taxes, liens or judgments need to be brought to a client’s attention before a project gets underway. It can be a huge liability for these firms if their leases are not secure.
CW Solutions professionals conduct thorough title review and research reports for individuals and businesses. The firm was founded in 2002 by Stacie Curtis who partnered with Robert Weible. Since then, they have grown from a local New Jersey property acquisition firm to a nationwide corporation. In addition to title research, the firm offers right-of-way, property acquisition, zoning, permitting, regulatory compliance, project management and landman services.