An unmarketable property carries a substantial risk of litigation. You should only buy properties with marketable titles so that you don't waste resources and time in legal claims after the purchase. Below are some examples of issues that might make a property unmarketable.
A property lien is a legal claim that a third party has on a property they don't own. For example, if you use your property as collateral for a loan, the financier has a lien on your property. You can't sell the property without the financier's authority.
Property zoning determines how you can use your land. For example, zoning laws determine:
A property becomes unmarketable if it has violated a zoning law. For example, building commercial property in an area that doesn't allow commercial properties creates an unmarketable title.
Property encroachment arises if a property owner violates the rights or boundaries of the neighbors. For example, you encroach on your neighbor's land if your house extends over the boundary.
Adverse Possession Claims
Adverse possession laws allow you to take possession of a property after you have occupied it for a long time. Adverse possession laws mainly protect squatters. Adverse possession laws vary by state. For example, some states allow adverse possession after 20 years of occupancy or use. Adverse possession of a property makes the original owner's title unmarketable.
Chain of Title Issues
A property's chain of title is clear only if the property has always changed hands legally. A break in the chain of title arises if there is an issue in the property's previous ownership. For example, you break the chain of title if you sell a property you co-own without the co-owners permission. In such a case, the buyer gains an unmarketable title of the property.
Violation of Restrictive Covenants
A restrictive covenant is a contract that limits what you can or cannot do with your property. For example, a restrictive covenant might forbid you from constructing anything other than single-family homes on your land. A property's title becomes unmarketable if it violates a restrictive covenant.
As you can see, you should be very careful when buying real estate property. Otherwise, you might end up with an unmarketable title. Consult with a real estate law firm to help you with the purchase and censure everything is above board.
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