How Can I Get A Title Cleared If I Can't Find The Person?!?

6 Replies

I purchased a property at a county tax auction, and rehab the property and put it on the market just to find out that there are liens from the previous owner whom I can't find.

What can I do?? the title company is of know help even if I find the previous owner what am I supposed to do tell him to pay his bills...

Not sure about ohio but in Florida you need to file a quiet title suit.  That is the only way to get clear title with a tax sale property.. You need to contact a good real estate attorney in Ohio.

Ray

Originally posted by @Muhammad Abdullah :

I purchased a property at a county tax auction, and rehab the property and put it on the market just to find out that there are liens from the previous owner whom I can't find.

What can I do?? the title company is of know help even if I find the previous owner what am I supposed to do tell him to pay his bills...

 @RaySlack is right you may need to file a quiet title action to ultimately get a clear title.

If I were in your position I would also hire a skip tracing service simultaneous to filing a quiet title action suit to find the person. The liens may have been settled or may be settle by the personif they're amenable to helping you secure a clean title.

Did you not check title prior to the purchase, or at the latest prior to investing in the rehab? 

The keyword term "quiet title" brought me to this thread.

To briefly expand, title company's is in business of selling title insurance, not fixing YOUR title problems. Each title company presents their 'offer to insure' called a preliminary report, subject to their interpretatation of status of title and their list of exceptions, if any, which are the 'fine print'.

Generally, prior to a quiet title or other lawsuit requiring notice to other parties of interest (including creditors) a litigation guarantee is the product offered, naming all those parties that requiring noticing, including any government agencies. 

When personal service is required, some of these persons can be difficult to find. This is when skip tracing services can be utilized. 

In my state, CA, noticing has become an increasing difficult issue. We have the ability to petition for an Order to Publish in order to comply with noticing missing parties, however a licensed private investigator must first be employed to document and certify all attempts to locate the missing parties. 

Essentially, these delays cost time and money and we build them into the deal analysis. Getting this step comleted can easily add another 4-12 months (incredibly).

Then there's the matter of court prove up on default at your hearing. 

This is obviously not a matter for an amateur real estate person as it requires much knowledge of state laws and local rules of court.

Part of the process of buying at tax auctions is to know the rules. In some locations, the purchase at such a tax sale serves to extinguish subordinate liens, but in other locations that is not the case. So either those liens were extinguished or ...

It sounds like the previous owner had incurred liens that attached to the property and were not extinguished, so they remain attached to the property. So now that you are the new owner, those liens are now YOUR responsibility to pay off, with a potential exception being IRS liens (with proper notice of the sale, the IRS has 120 days to redeem). 

@Muhammad Abdullah , you definitely have to proceed with a quiet title action. Find a good lawyer who handles them all the time. If there are no major title issues, they should be able to get title cleared relatively quickly.

Ashley J.

Thanks BP family,

 the guidance is greatly appreciated

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