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Title Issues on Your House

Title Issues- Can You Sell Your House?

April Crossley:

Hey, Berks County. April Crossley here with Berks County House Buyers, and we are answering your most common questions. Today, we’re answering the question, can you sell a house that has title issues? What is title and what does title issues even mean? First, yes, it is possible to sell a house with title issues. It just depends what the title issue is. So when we buy houses at Berks County House Buyers, we buy just like if you were going to sell your home on the market, only the offer is cash and we don’t do any inspections, so we can close quickly and you don’t have to repair anything.

But we still hold settlement with a title company and we do everything at a title company. Meaning when you get a check from us for your home, it comes from the title company. We wire money to the title company. The title company gives you a certified check. That way you have a certified check in hand. In Pennsylvania, we run everything through a title company and they do what’s called a title search. The title search tells us who is on title and what leans are on title.

So let’s talk about the who, what names are on the deed of the property. Sometimes this is a husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son, whatever the case may be, whoever actually owns the home. If one of those parties has passed away, you’ll have to bring some kind of death certificate or documentation showing that they passed away and are no longer “owner” of the home and probate will also… Well, actually probate won’t have to be filed in that case. You will just have to bring a death certificate with you if you are the one that’s also on the deed.

Other things that can happen, and this is the majority of what happens with title. Sometimes liens pop up. People say, “What is a lien on title?” That just means that you owe someone a debt or you have a loan out that you owe to someone. The most common things are mortgages, home equity lines of credit. We’ve also seen things like IRS liens, like if you don’t pay your taxes and the IRS puts a lien on your home. Back water and sewer bills, back taxes, everything like that. You cannot sell your home without paying off the liens. Meaning we can’t buy the home without the liens being paid off.

You don’t have to come out of pocket and pay them. But whatever money we bring to settlement, the cost of those lien will come off of that money. So for example, let’s say we tell you we’re going to give you $100,000 cash for your home in Berks County, we send it to the title company to get ready for settlement and the title comes back and shows that you owe $50,000, maybe $25,000 is a mortgage and $25,000 in back water and sewer bills. Sounds crazy, but it’s happened.

So then what happens is that when we go to settlement to give you $100,000, 50,000 of that is going to pay off the $25,000 in back water, sewer bills and the $25,000 owed to the mortgage company. So it’ll come out of the amount that we are bringing to you at settlement. So any liens against the house, even if you didn’t pay a contractor, contractors can put liens on your house, that will come out of the money we bring you at settlement to clear up title, meaning the house is clear of all liens and nothing is owed on the property.

Some other common things we see are child support liens that need to be paid off, or if someone has been to prison, sometimes there’s some debts that they owe or money that they owe the courts that they have to pay off. We’ve seen that lien against a house as well. So there are some liens that pop up. Sometimes there’s title issues. Sometimes you will have a mortgage that you paid off, but the mortgage company is still showing that you owe that loan. It’s a very frustrating process, but this is why it’s important that everything’s done professionally with title companies.

This is where title companies shine. This is what they are experts at, so that if there is a discrepancy, they can start reaching out to mortgage companies and getting payoff letters and saying, “This person paid this off already. They do not owe this to you.” So we work with you. Sometimes we bring our attorney in and our attorney gets involved to make sure that any liens or anything on the title can get paid off, or if there’s any discrepancies where you’re saying, “Hey, I already paid this,” we want to make sure that that gets taken off as well.

The house can’t be transferred until everything on the title is cleared up. So can you sell a house with title issues in Berks County? Yes, you can. Settlement might just take a little longer. So sometimes people will come to us because they need to sell quickly, two weeks, 10 days. They want money in hand now. If title issues pop up, this can delay the settlement process because we need to have all that taken care of. But the perk is we hold your hand through the whole thing so we don’t leave you to figure it out on your own.

If we need to pull in our attorney to help, we do that at our cost to help get title cleared up for you so you can sell your house in Berks County fast and easy without any headaches. If you’re looking for a free, no obligation consultation, check out our website, berks610.com or give us a call 610-816-6205.

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