Why You Shouldn’t Do Property Due Diligence Yourself

There are many times when doing it yourself is a great idea. In some instances it can save money and time, 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. When reading legal descriptions, one wrong word can place you on the wrong property entirely, which 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

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.

Incorrect Legal

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

Thanks to our qualified Abstractors, the errors explained above were able to be caught and corrected before things worsened. Here are some of the most common issues our Abstractors 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, 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.