Congratulations! You may have found your dream home, but unfortunately, there is a cloud on the title.
A quiet title action may be necessary before you can purchase the property. What does this mean and how does it work?
A quiet title action is a legal proceeding to determine rightful ownership of a piece of property. In addition to you as the potential buyer, the current titleholder, the mortgage lender or someone in physical possession of the property could initiate this kind of lawsuit. If property ownership is ambiguous, the title company will not issue title insurance, and without that, you cannot obtain a mortgage loan.
The possible issues
The cloud on the title of the home you wish to buy could arise for a variety of reasons:
- If the home is not occupied, you may wish to file a quiet title action to resolve questions about possible claims from heirs or lien holders
- If the interest in the property is conveyed through a quitclaim deed, you will want to ensure that the title is clear
- If you are purchasing the property through a foreclosure, a sheriff’s sale or estate sale, it is important to initiate a quiet title action
- If there are questions about the correct parcel in the deed, a quiet title action is in order
The process of clearing title
In Florida, you file a quiet title action in a circuit court. After due deliberation, a judgment will declare that all adverse interests in a piece of property are now removed. The title to the property is “quieted” when the chain of title—the historical record of the parcel—is cleared of any encumbrance. Once this happens, the title company can issue title insurance and you are on your way to purchasing your dream home.