"Title is a mess" according to closing attorney

I was so excited about my first deal, after starting mailing months ago. Like they say, don’t count your eggs until they hatch. I was finally going to have some profit:

I got an option to buy 37 acres a few months ago. I marketed the land and found a buyer ready to purchase from me, for about a $35K profit. We had the double closing date set. The title search came back and the attorney told me the title was a mess and wrote out several paragraphs why. At the end he wrote “the only chance is to get this title quieted and cleared up but it won’t be cheap and there is no guarantee”

There were ostensibly 4 siblings who owned the property and I was dealing mainly with the oldest. I told her the issue over the phone, and I gave her the phone numbers of 3 real estate attorneys in her area. I told her, once you get it cleared up, let me know, I’m still ready to proceed. So basically, I put the expense of that and the ball in their court.

Anyone run into this? Can these unclear titles usually be cleaned up by a real estate attorney or a title company? I’m thinking the chances of me getting this deal are quite a bit diminished now.

@robere out of curiosity, what state is this in? Sometimes that can impact how long a quiet title action can take. Not sure how familiar you are with quiet title actions, but the video in this article might help explain them a bit better: What Is a Quiet Title Action? | REtipster.com

If you’re looking at a $35K profit, I would think a quiet title action would be an easy cost to justify. They’re usually a few thousand bucks to pay for, and you’ll have to wait for a few months (again, the cost and time can vary depending on the state, and the issue you’re trying to fix)… so, when you’re working with tiny, rinky-dink lots that aren’t worth much, it’s harder to justify the cost and time of a quiet title. But it sounds like this is a much more substantial property that’s worth the trouble.

I don’t know anything about your attorney or the issues in the title, but I will say, I’ve met many, MANY attorneys who seem to specialize in problem-finding but not problem-solving.

You could try doing a google search for “quiet title attorney” or just find another “real estate attorney” in the area and find out what they would charge for a quiet title action. If it were me, that’s what I’d be doing.

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Thanks, Seth.

I watched the video.

The property is in Mississippi. According to my closing attorney, there were multiple problems with the title. The video suggests a quiet title action may not alleviate multiple issues, but I suppose it’s worth a try.

I’ll see if I can find an attorney who does this. I was just going to put it in the seller’s court ( let them pay for it and deal with the hassle of quieting it) and let me know when it’s done , then proceed with the double closing hopefully. Perhaps I could agree to split costs. The person who is going to buy from me, still says he wants it and is willing to wait.

@robere the only problem with putting it in the seller’s lap is that in most cases, if we’re trying to get a deeply discounted price, we need to make it easy for them. Putting this kind of thing in their lap doesn’t necessarily make it easy.

Now, it’s one thing if they are literally the only people who can handle it (like getting to the bottom of some probate issue), but if there is a way to take the reigns, and if there’s a massive pay check on the other side of that issue, it could make sense to try and connect the dots for them.


Good point Seth. What I did was find the attorney, email him the title work, call the owner and give her the attorney’s contact info and told her to call them asap, which I believe she will as she seems pretty motivated and responsible. The main thing is, I don’t want to pay for it as it will run $ 2500 or so.

I’m going to continue to work with the attorney and gently “push” things through via email and calls when needed.

Two other attorneys that my closing guy sent the title work paperwork to have already declined to take the case (indicating the title is indeed a mess) , so, I hope this other guy that I found and referred to the seller, is willing to take it.

This deal looks like it will finally be closing this month. Long story short, I went in and both the buyers and myself paid for the quieting of the title. It has been successfully quieted, now I have the contract to sell pending the survey.

I’d like advice from anyone familiar with these kinds of things: I’ll be buying the land at an attorney office. “My” buyers, who are using their real estate agent (who I’m dealing with) want to close at their own title company, which is okay. I figured what I’d do is close on a thursday ( and buy the property myself), then schedule the closing with “my buyers” the next day on Friday. Not exactly a double closing, but I’m trying to set as close together as possible to mitigate risk ( that my buyers back out, etc.) else Im stuck with the land.

I’ve got financing to purchase the land myself and my buyers have financing to buy from me. Would it simplify things just to fire my attorney and do a “double closing” with their title company? In other words, I arrange for their title company to do the closing with my sellers ( when i buy the property) and then, same day, I simultaenously (or as close as possible) turn around and sell to my buyers? or is that too unfeasible? (due to the fact that I don’t want to offend anyone with everyone knowing what profit I’d be making)…therefore it makes more sense to keep the closing offices separate ( my attorney for my closing to buy and their title company, the next day, for my closing to sell to my buyers), so that no one knows the prices going on? I’m thinking the title company wouldn’t disclose that info to them anyway, if I did a double closing at their office, but I kind of dont want to take the risk.

My only reason for asking is that if I do a double closing at the same office, at the same time, it mitigates the risk of my buyers “backing out”, and it also potentially mitigates my need to even come up with money since my buyers would bring a check to pay everyone ( though I’m not sure this works since it’s a financing deal and not a cash deal, both ways. in other words, I’mgetting a loan from the bank to buy and my buyers are getting a loan to the bank to buy from me)

Apologies for the length, and somewhat complexity of the question, I just want to go about this the most efficient and risk free way.