When trying to buy or sell a piece of real estate property, you’ll sometimes find that the property’s title isn’t very clear. While this tends to be troublesome, there are things that can be done to clean the property’s title up. One of the most popular methods is a quiet title.
Now you may be wondering what exactly a quiet title is, and I’m here to tell you exactly that. First off, the title to a property is a legal document that tells you who owns that property. The document also allows whoever owns the property to do whatever they please with said property, as long as it falls in line with local, state, and federal laws, in addition to any other stipulations that might be on file. But what is a quiet title? To put it simply, a quiet title is an action lawsuit or legal proceeding that helps clear the title to a property. They tend to be used for a variety of reasons, such as when there are title defects or multiple claims to a property. For example, a quiet title might resolve an issue over Easement, such as a shared driveway.
The most common time that a quiet title is used tends to be when a property has been purchased in a tax deed sale. When a tax deed sale occurs, all previous liens are typically wiped clean, such as mortgage lenders, but their claim on the property will not be resolved until there is a quiet title action. Another situation where quiet titles tend to get filed is when a property has been passed on through a quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds occur when the property’s previous owner disclaims interest in the property and chooses to transfer the interest to the buyer without any promise or justification of a clear title.
When quiet titles get filed, you’ll likely want to make sure you have a lawyer on your side that specializes in them. The defendant would be served a notice of the suit just like other legal cases and would have to respond within a certain amount of time in order to either bring the case to court or just clear the title completely. The process usually takes around 2 months and can be quite expensive, even when the title is uncontested. Cheaper and shorter alternatives exist if the quiet title doesn’t seem to suit your interest.