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Home > Blog > Real Estate > Title Issues That Can Derail New York Real Estate Closings

Title Issues That Can Derail New York Real Estate Closings


Buying a new home or business property can be something that you have long dreamed of. After all, it is one of the most important steps we can take. Sometimes, however, that dream turns into a nightmare due to unexpected problems with the property’s title. The buyer – and the seller as well – can be thrown off by an ugly surprise lurking within the property’s title history. Tax liens, judgment liens, unusual easements related to the property – these can all throw a wrench into what was otherwise a smooth real estate transaction.

Some common title issues can include:

  1. Liens. When a seller owes unpaid taxes, has a money judgment against them, or even owes past-due child support, those debts can become obstacles to a property’s closing. An IRS lien or court judgment lien, for example, must be resolved and paid before those lienholders will remove the lien and allow a sale to proceed. If the seller is a parent who is delinquent on child support, New York can file child support liens against that individual’s real estate. Any of these would be surprises to a buyer, but can also surprise a seller that thought they had the debt taken care of earlier. A quick resolution of these liens – often with the assistance of an attorney – can help get the property sale back on track.
  1. Easements. An easement is a grant of nonpossessory property rights to other individuals, companies, or government entities to access parts of the legal property. This is usually a pathway that abuts or even runs through a parcel of land to serve some other kind of interest. A classic example would be a lakefront home with a connected pathway that others can use to access the beach. The path may be within the legal boundaries of the home’s land, but the title contains an easement clause that allows others to use the strip of property.

An easement can be relinquished, but that often requires agreement from neighboring property owners and a process that takes time. Often, the potential buyer is left with the choice of whether the easement is something they are willing to accept as part of the sale.

  1. Encumbrances. Encumbrances are property rights that a third party has over a parcel of property. These can include liens and easements, and also mortgages or restrictive covenants that inhibit the free transfer of the property. Zoning laws and environmental regulations can also create encumbrances on a property. Sometimes a seller might even be unaware of certain restrictions, if they purchased the property without investigating these issues.
  2. Errors in Public Records. Sometimes, through no fault of the seller, a property’s title can be clouded by a clerical or filing error that changes the home’s legal description, or aspects of its use. When these happen, they can affect the deed or property survey, and be costly and time-consuming to fix.

Our Bronx and New Rochelle Real Estate Attorneys Know the Problems Title Issues Can Cause, and What to Do About Them 

Nobody wants to run into a title issue just as they think they found their dream property. Sometimes, these can happen but can be addressed and corrected with the right approach. Our attorneys at Cavallo & Cavallo have decades of helpful experience in the real estate market and would be glad to review and assist with any real estate issues you may run into. Feel free to call our Bronx office with any questions at 718-822-2203, or our New Rochelle office at 914-235-8500, or visit our Bronx & Westchester real estate attorneys online today.



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