Why Don’t I Have Good Title to This Property?

I was having coffee with a friend a few days ago and he said he bought real property at an auction after a tax foreclosure. They were puzzled because he was told that the County Treasurer acquired clear title to the property in a tax foreclosure. He received a deed from the treasurer. But a title company told him his title is not clear. How can that be? What must he do?

It is true that the County Treasurer acquires title to real property not redeemed from a tax foreclosure. That title is by statute absolute. However, because of past situations where courts have invalidated tax foreclosures due to insufficient notices, title companies are reluctant to insure title.

How will that affect you if you bought from the County Treasurer? You may not be able to get title insurance if you borrow against the property or resell it.

How do you deal with this? First, seek legal advice about shopping around for title insurance. Different companies have different guidelines for issuing insurance. If that fails, seek legal advice about quieting title.

The title you received is usually good, you just need to prove it. When should you do this, right after buying the property.

Waiting only causes added difficulties or delays if you plan to borrow against the property, build on the property or sell the property in the future. This same advice applies to most other titles.

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