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Punctual Leadership Blog

11 Dec
Title and Real Property

A Real Estate Carol: Meet the Ghosts of Property Past, Present and Future

by Punctual Abstract

If you’re familiar with A Christmas Carol, you know that Ebenezer Scrooge finally found redemption with the help of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. As a property buyer, or a real estate agent representing the interests of a purchaser, you must be guided by three property ghosts to ensure you are buying what you think you are buying: The Ghosts of Property Past (Title Search), Property Present (Inspection) and Property Future (Infrastructure, Zoning and Developments).

The Ghost of Property Past

A property is more than a structure or a piece of land. It has had numerous owners stretching back decades or even centuries. Only with a careful review of the property records and a thorough title search can a purchaser know:

  • Whether A Third Party, Such As A Family Member Of The Seller Or A Previous Seller, Has A Claim To A Part Or The Entirety Of The Property
  • Whether A Bank Or Financing Company Has Placed A Lien On The Property For A Previous Owner’s Unpaid Debts
  • Whether Any Unknown Easements Restrict The Way The Property May Be Used Or Give Third Parties Access To Parts Of The Property
  • Whether A Prior Deed In The Chain Of Title Was Illegal Or Fraudulent
  • Whether A Filing Or Clerical Error In The Public Records Has Affected The Deed Or Survey Of The Home</li

The Ghost of Property Present

While issues in the distant past can affect the value of a property, so can issues in the present. Only with a thorough property inspection performed by a qualified property inspector can a purchaser discover:

  • Whether Additions Or Installations Were Completed Without Proper Permits Or Not To Code, Thereby Affecting Taxes, Usability, Insurance And The Overall Value
  • Whether The Property Is Encumbered With Any Environmental Hazards, Like Mold, Which Can Be Incredibly Costly To Remediate
  • Whether The Installation Age Of Major Systems Like Heating And Plumbing Will Cause Require Replacement (I.E., Major Investment)

The Ghost of Property Future

Just as your property has a long history stretching into distant decades, it also has a long future that will stretch decades into the future. To ensure that you will get out of your property what you are expecting (to start a business, to raise a family, etc.) you must understand what the surrounding area will look like in five, ten and twenty year’s time.

For example, a new highway may enhance the value of nearby commercial properties while reducing the value of nearby residential properties. Only by researching government infrastructure and development plans, which are often located in government planning offices or City Hall, can a purchaser understand:

  • Whether The Likely Uses Of Any Adjacent Or Nearby Vacant Lots Will Negatively Or Positively Impact Their Investment
  • Whether Any Nearby Zone Changes Or Conditional Use Permits Have Been Issued, And If So How These Would Affect The Value Of Their Property
  • Whether Any Government Infrastructure Projects, Such As A New Highway Or A New Train Stop, Will Hurt Or Harm Their Investment
  • Whether The Surrounding Area Is Evolving Into A More Commercial Or Residential Area
  • Whether New Development Is Occurring In The Area, And What Type

Protect Your Investment with Punctual Abstract

Any property transaction carries risk. Those risks lurk in the background like ghosts. In that sense, you could call us ghostbusters. Punctual Abstract is a trusted partner when accurate verification of a seller’s right to ownership, claims, defects and other rights on a property are required. To learn more about our services, visit our homepage today.