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If there's a cloud on a title, watch out

You were interested in buying a property, but you were just informed that the title is clouded. A cloudy title can stop your purchase immediately.

A cloud on a title is anything from a claim, unreleased lien, document or another kind of notation that could invalidate the title. As a buyer, you should beware if you see a cloud on a title or if you find that there is a cloud on a title after you purchased a property.

Why would you find a cloud on a title?

A cloud on a title could happen if a mortgage lender starts the foreclosure process. This is one reason it may come up. Did you know that a property may not be able to be sold if the seller is behind on payments? That's just one reason to check over the title carefully.

Unresolved liens are another common reason for cloudy titles. Anything from a mechanic's lien to liens placed as collateral can make it impossible to sell the home. The lien normally has to be paid before the sale can move forward.

If you are trying to buy a home and find that there is a cloud on the title, speak with the seller. Some may not be aware that one is still present. They may be able to clear up the issue and continue with the sale. If not, then it's in your best interest to step away from the purchase or to look into other options if you have already made the purchase with the cloud on the title unknowingly.

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