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Old 06-23-2008, 10:06 PM
Location: Lovelock, NV - Anchorage, AK
1,195 posts, read 4,837,284 times
Reputation: 462


Can anybody tell me about a quiet title, I bought property 3 years ago from a gal who bought it through a tax sale 2 years prior, now I'm trying to put a house on the property and being told that they can't do a title insurance on it. Isn't there a statute of limitation as to how many years from a tax sell that the orignal owner can come back to claim it.

The purchase was a legal purchase with a Lawyer drawing up the documents and being recorded with the county and all, I just don't understand.

I need somebody to enlighten me on this please
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Old 07-21-2008, 12:34 PM
4 posts, read 36,056 times
Reputation: 17
Default You need to see a lawyer, pronto.

The problem is you bought the property in a "legal purchase" with a lawyer, but obviously the lawyer was working for the seller, not for you.

A lawyer working for you would have told you that when your seller obtained the property in a tax sale, she only got a quitclaim deed. This is, in a sense, not a deed at all, but an estoppel. In other words, what it means is that the county foreclosed on the property for failure to pay the tax, but all it conveyed to the buyer (your seller) was the rights that the county had in the property. Basically the county said they'll sell whatever interest they have in the property but won't guarantee that they have any interest at all.

So, your seller turned around and sold you a property she did not have marketable title to. There's nothing wrong with that, except you didn't do your homework and check the chain of title with someone who knew what they were doing. In order to get marketable title you need to start a quiet title action in county court, since the seller obviously didn't. Quiet title is an action by the court to determine that you in fact are the only true owner of the property--once you get a judgment then you can record it with the county clerk and get that in your chain of title. You can do this on your own but since you don't really understand the process, you'll need a lawyer to do it for you. That's the only way, and assuming nothing goes wrong and it is uncontested, expect it to run a few thousand dollars. How much exactly depends on the cost of lawyers in your area; the process is straightforward and you don't need a specialist.

If your seller gave you a quitclaim deed, then you have no reason to believe that you had clear title. If she gave you a warranty deed, (I doubt it), then your new lawyer might be able to go after her for some of the expense of filing the quitclaim action.

Bottom line, you need to hire your own lawyer to clean up your chain of title, or you'll never get title insurance or sell the house for full value.

If the lawyer who did the sale was really working for you, then your new lawyer might be able to go after him for malpractice. But I really doubt this is the case, and I am sure that he probably gave you a little mini-lecture about the nature of his representation that probably went in one ear and out the other.
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