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Will a quiet title action enable you to buy your dream home?

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Real Estate Law

The home you have long coveted in Palos Verdes Estates has finally come on the market, and you intend to purchase it.

However, it appears there are breaks in the chain of title. You may have to file a quiet title action before the transaction to buy the property can proceed.

About the quiet title action

The purpose of a quiet title action is to determine legal ownership of the property in question. If there is doubt or ambiguity about ownership or a break in the chain of title, the property has no marketable value. As a result, a title company will not issue title insurance without which you cannot obtain a mortgage loan.

Potential problems

Various issues may prompt a quiet title action:

  • A boundary dispute or potential survey inaccuracy
  • Possible claims of the heirs or unknown lien holders of an unoccupied house
  • Prior to property conveyance, the owner dies, leaving the property to relatives
  • The property becomes available through an estate, foreclosure or sheriff’s sale
  • A recording error

A “cloud” on the title refers to something in the chain of title that is not clear. This could mean anything from a creditor lien in the record to someone claiming water rights on the property. Removing the cloud through a quiet title action will result in the property having a marketable title.

A verified complaint

In California, you, as the plaintiff, must present a verifiable complaint that begins with a legal description of the property and ends with a specific request for the determination of your title versus an adverse claim. If you prevail in the quiet title action, the property becomes marketable and your ability to purchase that Palos Verdes dream home becomes a reality.