Property Mistakes Will Cost You. Our Research Can Help.

There are many times when doing it yourself is an ok option. In some instances it can save money, depending upon the skills you already have and a willingness to dedicate your time over other priorities. It might not always turn out perfectly, but it can potentially get the job done. Unfortunately, there is a big difference between doing your own property research and changing out some shelving in a living space. Research conducted yourself for a property transaction might be less trusting, as may your shelves.

Years of experience are needed to become proficient in property research, there are many different nuances in each State and County nationwide.

The Three C’s that will cost you the most.

Customer Relationships – It should come as no surprise that exceptional research is at the core of property changing hands and sets the stage for each transaction’s success. Each customer involved in your transaction can become your best advocate and turn into future business or a major liability and PR nightmare based on how their transaction goes.

Credibility – Reputations are big in every business, but especially in the real estate industry. It takes a long time to build a solid reputation. Only one misstep can wreck what you’ve built.

Claims – Related to credibility, you want to mitigate your risk and deal with as few claims as possible that could tarnish your brand. Doing things the right way from the start by entrusting the right resources helps to reduce the chances of these claims.

For instance, when reading legal descriptions, one wrong word can place you on the wrong property entirely. This is why we have experienced Abstractors on our staff.

With that being said, we want to share some true stories caught by our Property Research Team here at Capitol Lien.

Encumbering Wrong Property

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A mortgage having several exceptions was filed in Crow Wing County on a property with a confusing legal description. Unfortunately, proper due diligence was not practiced on the property before the mortgage was filed. When examined it was discovered that the exceptions included all of that property. The large bank involved was left empty-handed, having a mortgage that did not encumber any actual property. In addition, they foreclosed on the mortgage leaving the bank with nothing.

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Had we been involved prior to the mortgage being filed we could have helped to prevent such costly issues and loss in this transaction by calling attention to the legal description and what was actually encumbered.

Incorrect Legal


A legal description was incorrect on a Sheriff’s Certificate from Washburn County. A medium-sized bank in the midwest technically owned the incorrect parcel on paper.

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When we discovered this, it was immediately brought to the client’s attention, alerting them that the deed was incorrect. In the end, the client ultimately decided to draft the deed and pass along the problem. This happens more often than one would imagine. A majority of issues we address in regards to the property are with legal descriptions that are flawed.

Acres Away


Our Abstractors uncovered a mortgage that was filed incorrectly on 200 acres of land in Morrison County. A couple who had owned the property had platted and sold off parts of the land over time, resulting in only owning 27 acres.

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We were able to file a corrective mortgage before the property was sold.

In Deed


In Blue Earth County, our Abstractors noticed that the deed covered and conveyed much more property than the county GIS website said it encompassed. The legal description included a parcel of land that was not titled to the current owner! The request that we received was to search from the current deed forward, but more research was needed to clear the title issue.

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Our staff went further in the real estate records and found where the split-off of the additional property had occurred. In our final report, we made it clear to the client that they should correct the title issue prior to closing.

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Thanks to our qualified property research professionals, the errors explained above were able to be caught and corrected before things worsened. One thing that we can confidently say we love about Real Estate, is that there is never a dull moment. No matter the state of the economy, or market, things are always happening. As long as it’s there, there is research to be done! Every piece of Real Estate has its own story, background and origin. As we get a new order, or a new project, it starts a new chapter in our history books. Throughout our years, as you can imagine, our history books have grown tremendously.

Here are some of the most common issues our research pros come across on a daily basis:

  • Documents being recorded in Abstract instead of Torrens when the property is registered.
  • Documents with correct legal descriptions not posted to the correct tract due to data entry error.
  • Satisfactions of a mortgage containing incorrect original mortgage document numbers.

The lesson to be learned here is simple, it’s always wise to turn to a professional when it comes to a piece of tangible property. We wouldn’t want any of our clients to experience the consequences of doing it yourself with any of these scenarios above.

Entrust us to be your ‘behind the scenes resource’ when True Due Diligence is needed.

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Capitol Lien has been named one of the Top 175 Workplaces in their home state of Minnesota by the Star Tribune as well as a Best Place To Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for 2021.