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New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

How to clear up clouds on a property title

Investing in commercial property can be a lucrative way to make a living. Perhaps you are new to real estate investing, or maybe you are a seasoned entrepreneur. Whatever the case, you have come across a property with questions on the title. Before you can move forward, you need to establish the other party, or parties, do not have a legitimate claim to the title on the property. You can do this by filing a quiet title suit.

What is a quiet title?

A quiet title suit is a legal proceeding which clarifies who holds the title to a real property, if there is more than one party claiming ownership. This suit can include land as well as buildings. Clearing up the title can help you to move forward with the purchase of the property.

What situations may cause the need for a quiet title suit?

A property that is part of an estate may have multiple heirs. All the heirs must receive notification and approve the sale of the property. Sometimes, locating all these parties can prove difficult. However, moving forward without receiving approval may lead to heir coming forward later and trying to assert their claim.

A property purchased through a foreclosure or tax sale is particularly vulnerable to potential claims on the title. Going through a quiet title suit will ensure the former owner or bank no longer has a stake in the property. Generally, with a tax sale, you need provide notice to the former owner of the impending sale, to give them time to pay the back taxes. If they do not pay these taxes, this will help your quiet title suit.

Filing a quiet title

You generally file a quiet title case with the court that has jurisdiction over the real property. Each party that may have a claim to the property is given notice of the suit. Typically, these parties are given around 20 days to respond to your suit. If some of the parties cannot be located, a public notification will be made through a local newspaper. If the defendants do not respond, the case will likely go your way. However, the burden of proof is on you, the plaintiff. Your case will hinge on your ability to prove your claim to the property.

If you are unsure about the strength of your claim or if a quiet title suit is right for you, you might want to reach out to an attorney experienced in commercial real estate issues. He or she can advise you on your claim and potentially assist you with building a case.

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