The title insurance policy is also a very important document. In the event someone suddenly raises an issue against or about your property, you may be able to file a claim with the title insurance company that issued the policy. For example, an old mortgage was never released from land records, and shows up when you go to sell your house. There usually are specific time limitations spelled out in the title policy which require you to file the claim within a certain number of days after you learn about the problem. The policy will also explain what is covered and what issues are not insured. Another document you should get at settlement is the survey. This is known as a house location survey, and will give you a general picture of where your property lines are. If, for example, your neighbor's fence encroaches on your property, -- or vice versa -- the survey should depict this and you should be advised of this issue when you are at the settlement table. There is a concept known as "adverse possession". Many states provide that if you are on someone else's property for a period of time, and this encroachment is "open, notorious and hostile", you will ultimately own the property if you seek court approval. One Judge defined adverse possession as follows:
"the person claiming the property by adverse possession must unfurl his flag on the land and keep it flying so that the owner may see, if he wishes, that an enemy has invaded his domain and planted the flag of conquest."State laws differ, and you should consult your own attorney for more details should you be involved in such a situation. For example, in the District of Columbia and in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the statutory limit is 15 years. In Maryland. 20 years are required before you can claim title by adverse possession. But what about the deed to your property? Once it has been recorded, you should never need it again. When you go to sell the property (or refinance your current mortgage) the settlement attorney (or escrow company) will conduct a title search which should show you own the property. You do not have to give the deed to anyone. If you are concerned about ownership, here are two suggestions: first, go to the office of the recorder of deeds in the jurisdiction where your property is located, and ask to confirm you own the property. A helpful clerk may even be able to provide you with a copy. In fact, many jurisdictions (such as the District of Columbia) have web sites whereby you can search all transactions going back a number of years, and for a nominal charge, print up a copy. Alternatively, you can ask your attorney to run a title search just to confirm that you are, in fact, the lawful owner of your property. Under no circumstances, however, should you waste your money with any company that offers you a certified true copy of your deed. It is absolutely unnecessary.
Source: RealtyTimes/Benny L. Kass/06 October 2015