Seven Types of Title Defects That Could Impact Your Home Sale


If you are engaged in any type of real estate transaction, it is essential that you discover any title defects as soon as possible. These defects, if left uncorrected, can result in substantial legal and financial problems for you. Here are seven types of titles defects that might negatively impact your home sale or other real estate transaction:


  1. Unpaid mortgages or liens
    • While it is not strictly necessary for a mortgage to be paid when a house is sold, it is essential that the mortgage (or any other liens on the property) be resolved before a transaction goes through. This is because unpaid mortgages and liens create a property interest that could be exercised by the mortgage lender or lien holder, resulting in potential legal problems.
  2. Unpaid property taxes
    • Likewise, there can be serious problems if the seller of a property has not been keeping up with their property taxes. Not only could it interfere with the sale, but in the worst case scenario, the buyer may be forced to deal with the seller’s tax burden if it is not resolved before closing.
  3. Outstanding secured loans
    • Another serious issue that can potentially arise is if the seller used the property as collateral to secure a loan. If that loan is not resolved or modified before the sale goes through, they may attempt to collect the property from the buyer, without realizing the property has changed hands.
  4. Undisclosed easements or covenants
    • Easement and covenants are types of nonpossessory property rights that can impair an owner’s ability to freely use their property. A property can be sold if all easements and covenants are properly disclosed, but any undisclosed easements or covenants are considered a type of title defect, and may interfere with the sale of the property.
  5. Errors in public records
    • People make mistakes, and public servants are no exception to this rule. Unfortunately, when they make mistakes in public records, it can potentially lead to title issues, such as disputes over ownership, or problems with the property’s boundaries or survey data.
  6. Undisclosed heirs
    • It is uncommon, but sometimes a person will leave a property in their will to an heir, and fail to change the will to reflect the fact that they no longer own the property. In such cases, there may be legal issues when that heir comes to claim your property as their own.
  7. Fraudulent documentation
    • Finally, sometimes you may encounter someone who used fraudulent documentation, such as a fake deed, as part of their real estate transaction. In such cases, you should hire a real estate lawyer to help you handle the issue and litigate any disputes that may arise as a result.


    The law office of Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC is experienced in various areas of real estate-related transactions. The firm’s skilled attorneys handle both commercial and residential transactions on behalf of lending institutions, real estate investment and management companies, business and individual clients. Call (718) 238-2400 for more information or to schedule a consultation.