A clear title is key to peace of mind for homeowners. Yet, it is not just them that benefit. Clean titles are good for the community too.
The Pew Charitable Trust found that 2% of residential properties in Philadelphia have an unclear or tangled title. Typically this is due to mistakes during the transfer process when someone died.
Think about anything you own, be it a dog, a vehicle, or a property. Knowing it is yours, and yours alone makes it more likely you spend money on its upkeep. If you are unsure, you will not want to invest too much in case someone takes it away from you, and you have wasted your money.
This can lead to properties falling into disrepair because no one is willing to spend money on maintenance. It only takes one dilapidated house to bring the whole area down, reducing the value of everyone’s homes and making it more likely that problems such as drugs and crime creep in.
How will titles issues affect you as an owner?
Tangled titles also affect your ability to use your property to get money. Here are some of the ways they do that:
- You cannot use your home as collateral: No lender will loan you money against the property unless you can show it is in your name. If you need the money for repairs, not getting a loan will hasten the property’s decline. If you need the capital to start a business, that may also become impossible.
- You cannot get home insurance: When something goes wrong, you will have no policy to pay for it, again hastening your home’s decline.
- You cannot access city home repair funds: These funds help keep neighborhoods in good repair, but you will not be eligible without a title.
- You cannot sell: Few, if any, buyers are going to hand over money to you without a clean title, so you will not be able to access the biggest source of capital you have.
There are several ways to remedy a tangled title. While they require an initial outlay, the cost of not fixing title issues will be much more in the long run.