Are you considering selling your home but don’t really know who owns the house? Well today I am joined by Shawn Harris and Alix Kammeyer from Fidelity National Title to discuss this important real estate quandary.
I often meet with a seller only to find that they are not the person listed on the title. If this situation arises, the first important thing to know is how a property is vested.
Imagine the following scenario: A husband and wife named Robert and Susan are on the title as joint tenants on a property. Now Susan has passed away and Robert is attempting to list the property, but he has not done anything to indicate his wife’s passing on the title.
In this situation, Robert can still proceed with listing, but he will need to provide a valid copy of Susan’s death certificate and sign an affidavit of death of joint tenants.
But what about when a family owns a home in a trust? How does this impact a person’s ability to list?
To explain this, let’s return to the scenario we mentioned earlier. In this version of our example, Robert and Susan are still a married couple, Susan has passed away, and their property is owned in a trust. Before Robert can list, the title company will need to see the trust and verify that Susan was one of the trustees and that Robert is the only other trustee.
“A lot goes into listing a home, especially if ownership issues are at play.”
From there, the process will proceed in the same way as we previously described. Robert will still need to provide the two documents mentioned earlier, but, other than that, he would be able to proceed with listing.
Finally, how can ownership of a property be impacted as a result of a divorce? In the state of California, 50% of marriages do not work out. So, this question is sure to be on the minds of many as they prepare to list.
There are a couple of ways this scenario can unfold. Let’s use our imaginary couple, Robert and Susan, to explain once more. This time, imagine that Robert and Susan have been divorced for five or six years. Susan has quitclaimed her interest off because Robert was awarded the property, and she is now living in Europe. If Robert has not refinanced the home or had title insurance issued, he will need to acquire an affidavit of uninsured deed.
This can be very difficult to obtain, so the first step before this comes into play is to look at the marriage settlement agreement and verify that Robert was truly awarded the property. Once this is verified, another important point to check is that Susan didn’t sign the quitclaim under duress.
As is apparent, a lot goes into listing a home, especially if ownership issues are at play. It is critical to get in touch with a title company before proceeding with your sale to make sure everything goes smoothly.
If you are looking for more information and want to get in touch with Shawn or Alix, you can contact them with the following information:
If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.