5 Common Title Problems, Clean Title on House | Houston Home Buyers Tips

Big State Home Buyers frequently helps families who are dealing with clean title problems. While it is possible for individuals to resolve some of these issues on their own with the proper knowledge and resources, it is much easier to work with a company that has experience.

Can You Sell a House Without A Title Company?

Many sellers with title problems may wonder if you can sell a house without a title company. The short answer is technically, yes. However, while a house can be sold without a title company, a buyer would have no safeguards against unknown title issues (like the ones below) and face a huge risk.

A title company and title insurance make sure that unknown title issues don’t interfere with the buyer’s ownership of the house.

What Does Clean Title For a House Mean?

Clean title for a house means that the owner of the house owns it without any encumbrances. A title is clean if it is free of liens or levies from interested parties such as lenders or creditors. Clear title means no other party has any claim to the house.

In order to have clear and clean title, sellers should resolve the following issues.

5 Most Common Title Problems

#1: Unknown Liens

Some people just forget they owe debts, and others just flat out deny it. If you are trying to sell a house and there is a lien from a previous owner, there are a couple things you can do. First of all, if the previous owner closed with a title company, you will need to go back to that same title company. The title company should have caught the lien, and the house shouldn’t have been able to be sold. In other words, it’s their fault. Closing with the same title company will allow them to re-insure the title policy.

If the former owner didn’t close with a  title company, you are going to have a bigger problem. Resolving the lien in this case involves either contacting the former own to see if they will pay the debt, or it involves you negotiating with the lien holder.


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An easier way to resolve liens, whether they are yours or a previous owner, is to work with a company like Big State Home Buyers to help resolve the lien by either negotiating down the debt or arranging a payment plan.

Credit card liens are also very common, but if you have a homestead exemption, it is fairly easy to get a partial release in order to sell the house. While you can still sell the house, the lien will still be attached to your name.

#2: Illegal Deeds

Once when purchasing a house, we (Big State) came across a minor that had inherited the property. In these cases, we have to go to court and appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the minor. This is referred to as Permission to Sell for Minor Child Interest. A deed granted to a minor, illegal/undocumented immigrant, or a person who is not of sound mind would be considered illegal.

#3: Missing Heirs

When someone dies with a will, the property is passed to their heirs (or whoever is named in the will). However, some family members may contest the written will if they think they have rights to the house claiming they were missing or unknown at the time of the previous owner’s death. This could affect your ownership of the house.

We encountered a situation once where a seller was claiming to be an only child, but it turns out she had siblings, meaning that she could not sell the house on her own. All the siblings would have to negotiate the sale together. Our agents often work with families to try to help them get on the same page so the house can be sold, but if not all parties are willing to sell, then the house cannot be sold.

#4: Undiscovered Will

The lack of a will is probably THE most common issue we come across at Big State Home Buyers. in these cases, we simply do what is called heirships. The process is simple and we do it all the time. However, it can get  more complicated if the owners have multiple marriages and more than one set of children.

#5: Errors in Public Records

This is a common title problem, but not one we deal with frequently. One example involves when the legal description of a property is done wrong. In those cases, we reorder the deed from the court record research and revise it. We have also had instances where the deed was recorded in the wrong county, so we had to order the documents from the recorded county and re-record in the correct county.

As you can see, it is possible for you to take steps to resolve or prevent some of these title issues. However, Big State Home Buyers can help resolve these issues at no cost to you, so that your house can be sold quickly. For more no-obligation information, call us.


Contact us for a free, no-risk quote within 24 hours.

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