Can I Get Clean Title If Buying As-Is with Back Taxes, Abatement Lien?
by Michelle Carr Crowe
Recently a question came up from a California home buyer purchasing a home As-Is owned by a family trust. His question was whether the seller would be able to provide free and clear title as the home has back taxes, abatement issues/fines and still had the name of a deceased person (original trustee) on title.
My first questions were:
Have you already entered into a contract and have you already seen a preliminary title report?
What do the listing agent, buying agent and escrow officer say?
What price are you paying?
In my experience if the home is in a trust and the sellers are the executor trustees, they usually have the right to sell real estate within the trust. They will be required to provide the title company with a copy of the trust, the death certificate of the prior trustee and of course identification that they are the true owners.
However, it all get complicated if this is a short sale or pre-foreclosure home.
For example, if the seller is short those tax and abatement issues may need to be part of the short sale negotiations. If sellers are netting cash from the sale then they'll be required to pay off those liens for taxes and abatement to ensure clean title. The buyer will need to get more info on the "unsafe to use" issue from inspectors and contractors familiar with the problems.
If the buyer is purchasing the home at 10 percent below market in an increasing market like we have in the area of San Jose with Cupertino Schools, it may be worth paying the $10,000 back taxes and $5,000 abatement liens.
As-Is usually means the home is sold in its present As-Is condition, so unless you have an inspection contingency or repairs are spelled out in the contract, the seller has no duty to fix anything.
Thank you fore reading my blog. I hope my response educates you about Can I Get Clean Title If Buying As-Is with Back Taxes, Abatement Lien?