You just won that incredible bid at the county’s foreclosure sale but you’re thinking to yourself, why did I just get such a great deal? You work on the property, you list it, and now that you’ve got it under contract the title company gives you sobering news…the legal description is wrong. What do you do?
Talk to an experienced real estate attorney as soon as possible. The attorney can assess the type of error in the legal description, the magnitude of the error, and whether it can be resolved as a scrivener’s error in the same foreclosure case, or if it will require a separate action for reformation of the legal description. The goal of these filings is to get to a correct legal description that reflects the intention of the conveyances in the chain of title.
Never ignore the problem. A title that has an incorrect legal description is often uninsurable and generally unmarketable. That amazing bargain you thought you got can turn into your worst nightmare the longer you wait to correct the legal description.
Become a proactive investor. Always run a title search before bidding. A worthwhile searcher will point out the error. Once you know there is an error in the legal description, you can reach out to an experienced real estate attorney who will explain to you the cost and options to correct the legal description. When you plan ahead and know what it will take to fix the legal, you can spot investment opportunities.
Control your costs. What seems like an obvious typo can cause litigation between neighbors, lawsuits with prior owners, and lawsuits from your buyers. Avoid spending 20-30 thousand dollars litigating disputes caused by faulty legal descriptions and fix the legal description as soon as you get your title, for a fraction of the cost.