Real Developments in Virginia: Virginia Law and Title Searches
Buying a new home or acquiring a piece of commercial property can be an exciting time. With both buyer and seller eager to move forward, sometimes the specifics can be rushed. The following checklist provides select tips for addressing potential title issues with your purchase:
- Check your policy to see what your title insurance covers.
Title insurance often has exceptions to coverage, identifying select easements, encumbrances, and liens that are not part of your coverage. Pay close to attention to these items as they may alter the property rights that you are receiving as part of your purchase.
- Double check what type of interest is being conveyed.
Va. Code § 55-67 et seq. defines what rights are being conveyed. The rights vary – for example a “general warranty” does not have the same strength as “special warranty.” Make sure that you understand the strength of title being conveyed — in the event of a dispute, stronger title provides more protection.
- Verify whether the conveyance is “subject to” any easements, liens, or encumbrances.
Virginia law surrounding real estate follows caveat emptor or “buyer beware.” This means that if a lien or encumbrance can be identified by looking at the deed, title work, or title insurance policy – a court will not “cancel” the transaction because a seller did not explicitly mention their existence. Therefore, if a deed reads that the conveyance is “subject to” an encumbrance, you should be fully aware of its parameters moving forward.
Questions about your pending real estate transaction in Virginia?
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ABOUT THEODORA STRINGHAM
Theodora Stringham focuses her litigation practice on providing diligent attention to clients’ needs. She distills complicated and contentious issues into a succinct and persuasive manner for negotiation and trial presentation.
Theodora litigates complex land use issues, including but not limited to, eminent domain/condemnation matters, zoning disputes, access, and valuation concerns. She has served as a fee counsel for the Virginia Department of Transportation and has also provided representation to individual landowners and developers alike.
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