What is an Affidavit Of Title?
An Affidavit of Title is a legal document provided by the seller of a piece of property that explicitly states the status of potential legal issues involving the property or the seller. The affidavit is a sworn statement of fact that specifies the seller of a property holds the title to it. For example, someone looking to sell a piece of real estate would need to provide an affidavit of title indicating that the property is theirs to sell, that the property is not being sold to another party, that there are no liens against the property and that the seller is not in bankruptcy proceedings.
BREAKING DOWN Affidavit Of Title
An Affidavit of Title is designed to protect the buyer from outstanding legal issues that might be facing the seller. If an issue arises in the future, the buyer has a physical document provided by the seller that can be used in legal proceedings.
Contents of an Affidavit of Title
Guidelines for the affidavit of title can vary from state to state. The basic contents for an Affidavit of Title include:
- The details of the seller, including a name and address.
- A statement that the seller is the exclusive owner of record for the property being sold.
- A statement to the effect that the seller is not concurrently selling the property to anyone else.
- A statement that there are no liens or assessments outstanding against the property.
- A statement that the seller has not declared bankruptcy or is not currently in bankruptcy proceedings.
Beyond that, there can be specific exclusions given in an affidavit of title. For example, the affidavit of title may note that there is a mortgage remaining on the property that will only be paid off after closing or that a specific lien or issue is being corrected. Broader exclusions include things like easements, encroachments and other issues that may not be shown on public records.
If an exception in the Affidavit of Title is an area of concern for the buyer, the buyer can notify the seller that the item must be remedied prior to closing. This could be as simple as having the seller clear a lien, or something more involved, such as paying for an updated survey of the land allotment and any easements upon it.
Why do you Need an Affidavit of Title?
An Affidavit of Title is generally required by the title company before it will issue title insurance. The law varies in different jurisdictions, but most states require an Affidavit of Title as part of the legal paperwork required for transferring property from a seller to a buyer. The Affidavit of Title primarily protects the buyer and provides some documentation should the transaction end up in court at some later date.