Real Property Basics: What Is a Clear Title?

A clear title. The term is commonly used to mean the deed holder can prove ownership, unquestionably. To verify that, a title company can conduct a title search.

Other parties’ claims on the title are called title defects, or clouds on title.

What do these claims look like? They might be mortgage liens, court judgments, contracts with renters, solar contracts, or any agreements to allow access to part of the property. There could be unpaid taxes in the past, claims by relatives involving their rights in foreclosures or inheritances, even liens for fees and fines imposed by homeowners’ associations.

Having a clear title matters to a homeowner. Selling isn’t an option while there are liens or claims against the title. Straightforward enough… But there are some finer points worth knowing.

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Can We Record Deeds on the Blockchain?

Blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrency, is a digital recording system, leading innovators to wonder if it could solve challenges in deed recording.

The U.S. deed recording system is tried and true. At the same time, title defects and tangled titles are much too common. Additionally, deed fraud harms vulnerable homeowners..

What if our title system moved to the blockchain? A “blocktitle” system, as Dawson Sanders at the University of Southern California calls it, would transform real estate transactions.

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Fannie Mae Was Going to Save Mortgage Borrowers Thousands by Dropping Its Title Insurance Requirement. Never Mind.

The Biden administration was working with loan backers to delete title insurance charges from closing costs. The move would have saved quite a few home buyers hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Noting that the plan had been silently scuttled, the Wall Street Journal said pressure against it came from “an obscure industry.”

The obscure industry is the real estate title insurance sector. It’s hardly obscure in our book. But the Wall Street Journal pointed to the industry’s small population. Only some 155,000 people reportedly work in the title and settlement sector.

In 2023, Fannie Mae was getting ready to test its planned phase-out of the title insurance requirement for mortgage borrowers. Evidently, the aforementioned industry wanted to save itself from further obscurity!

The title insurers pushed back. And Fannie Mae abandoned its test run.

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Buying Property with a Quitclaim Deed in Massachusetts

A Quitclaim? No problem. It’s Common Practice Here — and Safeguarding Your Title Is Straightforward.

Three major Massachusetts real estate deeds are commonly used: the quitclaim deed, the warranty deed, and the release deed. In contrast to most other places, Massachusetts home buyers receive their property through quitclaim deeds. So, we need to delve into the use of the quitclaim deed in Massachusetts.

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