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Title Pirates in North Conway - How to protect yourself

Beware of Title Pirates: A Cautionary Tale for Home Sellers

In the sophisticated arena of real estate transactions, which involve significant financial investments and intricate legal considerations, an often-overlooked peril looms: title pirates. These individuals or entities surreptitiously navigate through public records and the digital expanse, seeking opportunities to illicitly claim ownership of properties. Such fraudulent activities pose a substantial risk to unwary homeowners and potential sellers, threatening the security of what is frequently their most valuable asset. Recently, a client poised to purchase through North Conway Realty narrowly escaped falling prey to such a scam, thanks to the vigilant and expert intervention of our partners at Alpine Title. This incident underscores the vital importance of remaining alert to the potential dangers posed by title fraud in today's real estate market.

How Do Title Pirates Operate?

Title pirates exploit loopholes in property laws and the public nature of real estate transactions. They might forge documents to claim ownership of properties, particularly those that appear vacant, underutilized, or owned by absentee owners, such as vacation homes or vacant lots. Once they've established a fraudulent claim, these pirates can then sell the property, borrow against it, or even evict the rightful owners.

Protecting Yourself from Title Pirates

  1. Regularly Check Your Property Records: Visit your local county clerk's or recorder's office online to ensure your property records accurately reflect your ownership.

  2. Consider Title Insurance: While title insurance is a standard part of purchasing a home, it also offers ongoing protection against future claims of ownership or encumbrances that were not found during the initial title search.

  3. Google Your Address: In today's digital age, a simple yet effective way to monitor your property is to Google your address periodically. This includes any vacation homes or vacant lots you own. If your property appears in listings or discussions where it shouldn't, it could be a sign of trouble.

  4. Secure Your Mail: Ensure your mail is secure and consider a PO Box for important financial and property documents to prevent identity theft, which can be a precursor to title fraud.

  5. Legal Advice: If you suspect fraudulent activity regarding your property, consult with a real estate attorney immediately to understand your options.

 

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