Public record errors can leave a significant impact on your home’s title.
Moving into a new home should be one of the most exciting moments in your life. You have worked hard for it, searched high and low for that dream house, and now, it is all yours!
At least, it should be, but what happens when public record errors affect your home’s title?
Your house might be a new acquisition for you, but unless it is also newly built, there is a history to be uncovered. There is likely a long line of previous owners and title recordings that precede your purchase of the property. Typically, we trust that the public records accurately reflect the history of the house, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Public record errors can have negative consequences for homeowners, and in some cases, those consequences can have very unfortunate outcomes. By making sure to be diligent during the closing of a sale, and reviewing public records, your title insurance agency can catch errors in the title that have the potential to negatively impact you and your home in the future.
How Public Records Errors Can Affect Your Title
Firstly, it is important to note that any mistakes made are likely not purposeful. But since public records are entered by people, and people make mistakes, it is understandable how errors occur. Even if public record errors are caused by accident, it does not make them any less detrimental.
Public record errors could range anywhere from a typo that changes the address or square footage to missing paperwork. It is easy to imagine how these errors could have such a drastic impact. Let us say your address is 645 Park Street, but the clerk accidentally enters the address as 643 Park Street. You now have no legal right to reside at 645 Park Street, because the title says that you do not technically own that property.
Incorrectly recorded square footage on the title of your home is another issue that could pose serious problems, as it has a direct effect on the assessed value of the home. For example, if the title inaccurately represents the square footage as smaller than what it actually is, your home will most likely be undervalued.
Imagine a typo changing 1960 square feet to 1690 square feet. That is a 270 square foot difference that can drastically reduce the price.
Conducting a Title Search to Prevent Public Record Errors
Closing on a property requires a title search. The title search process determines whether or not there might be defects to the title that can affect the purchase of the home.
The property title is essentially the legal way of saying that you own the right to that particular property, which is why it is so important. It gives you the right to reside on the property and make any changes that you see fit, as well as sell the property if and when you desire.
The title should accurately describe the property and all aspects of it in order to determine exactly what a homeowner legally owns. This is why errors to the title, such as incorrect recording of square footage or a faulty description of the property, can have such massive negative consequences for homeowners.
Protect Yourself from Public Record Errors
Before you finalize the sale of your home, your real estate agent will check to make sure that the property has a “clear” title. This means that there are not any liens or levies on the house that could pose future questions of legal ownership.
Make sure to check over the title for any typos or mistakes (such as address) that could be obvious. It is the current homeowner’s responsibility to correct any mistakes that might be found on the title. To correct a mistake, your title insurance agency will need copies of the incorrect documentation as well as documentation that can prove the accurate corrections.
It is equally important to purchase title insurance to protect yourself against any errors. This will ensure that you are insured against any potential title issues that could come up.
Making sure to be diligent with the title work during the purchase and closing of your new home could save you some serious issues and heartache in the long run. Typically, a good real estate agent will be able to help you with any questions that you might have regarding your title. But it is still a good idea to protect yourself by checking the public records thoroughly and purchasing title insurance.
For further information on the real estate industry, get in touch with one of the title and escrow specialists at Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation.
Please note: The safety of our staff and clients is our highest priority. Effective immediately, Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. will be taking the following precautions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
All purchase transactions need to take place at a Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. closing office
- If a party to the closing is not feeling well, please contact your closer prior to the closing so appropriate precautions can be taken.
- We ask visitors to utilize the restroom in our building upon arrival to thoroughly wash hands before entering our office.
- Only individuals required to sign and/or deliver documents at closings will be allowed in our office. Specifically, closings will be limited to borrower(s), seller(s), agents, and lenders.
- All pens used in the closing will be given to the client after use.
- All closing rooms will be cleaned and disinfected in-between each closing.
- Those picking up checks at our office will be instructed to call our main line and request to speak to a staff member who will plan for delivery to the lobby or parking lot of our office.
- All staff will refrain from shaking hands before or after closings and ask clients do the same.
Please be advised that our staffing may be impacted during this unprecedented event. While we are committed to continuing to provide outstanding service, we ask for your patience in the face of this pandemic.