New Jersey  |  Real Estate Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 8/02/13, 10:56 am

Hello, I am trying to purchase/have a piece of property passed down to me from a family friend of ours here in Sussex county NJ, but I am having a hard time in feeling secure that there will be no problems in the future regarding the title of this property. I want to feel secure in obtaining this property and that no one can be successful in claiming or obtaining this property in the future. Currently title insurance is becoming quite difficult to obtain.

The property went through a couple of tax certificates in the late 1900's , and in a recent title search they found no record of passed ownership prior to the tax certificates. Either those records were lost or no past owners existed.

The current owner foreclosed on property in the year 2000 and took it to superior court against "unknown owners, unknown claimants, their heirs, devisees, and/or any of their successors in right, title and interest"; and paid existing liens in order to obtain deed.

Because I don't know the state of limitation of anyone claiming a property after a foreclosure and not sure how effective a foreclosure would be on a tax certificate property and the problems that could occur in the future if anyone wants to place a claim on property, I thought of obtaining title insurance.

I hired a title company and they found no record of past ownership (unknown owners), and for them to insure property I would need to make sure foreclosure was done effectively and in me obtaining a land survey which would cost me thousands. I am trying to avoid having to get title insurance and having to spend allot in the survey, which once I have in my possession I could invest in survey but not now.

My questions are the following:

1. Is this foreclosure confirming enough that no one from the past can come back to claim property or say property is theirs? The judge in the foreclosure document did state the above as being barred from future interests, but what statute limitation is there where an "unknown" or passed owner can claim property?

2. Is quieting title an option in obtaining clean title from any problems with future claims? Or did the foreclosure obtain this?

3. How difficult is quieting title and what does it involve and can it be taken to court against the same description in the above, considering we have no record as to any specific past owner or person?

I greatly appreciate the information and assistance in this. It seems somewhat hard trying to get legal advise from lawyers who don't have any experience in title problems.

Thank you very much.

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