Need Legal Aid Help? Get Started

How Do I Preserve Wealth with Accurate Home Ownership Records?



Homeownership is a big investment and should be protected. Whether you inherited your home, plan to leave the property to someone, or want to sell the house, your ownership records must be accurate and up to date.

Buying or selling a home requires a clear title. “Title” refers to ownership of property. The person named on the deed has title to or owns the property. Usually when a home is being sold, a title search confirms that the property has “clear title” for the new owner. A “clear title” is a title without any restrictions, such as a lien.

This is important information for a buyer to know before purchasing a home. A “lien” is a notice attached to the property indicating that the owner owes some money. A property may have a tax lien for unpaid taxes or a mechanics lien for money owed to a contractor for repairs.

Problems sometimes occur when someone inherits property without properly transferring the title. For example, sometimes a home passes through a family for generations without anyone recording transfer of title. A sign that property may have a title problem is if a prior owner’s name is on the deed, water bill or property tax bill. Outdated ownership records will cause problems if you plan to sell your home or leave your home to someone, access repair programs, or negotiate property tax payment plans.

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is partnering with Slavic Village Development Corporation and Burten, Bell, Carr Development to help people preserve wealth by resolving issues related to home ownership records. Call 216.861.5019 for free information and help ensuring current and future ownership of your home is properly documented.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­This article was written by Chloé Sudduth and appeared in The Alert: Volume 35, Issue 1.