Back in 2017 I listed three islands in the Potomac River consisting of 108 acres between Clear Spring, Maryland, and Falling Waters, West Virginia.
After tremendous publicity in the media for a unique listing the State of Maryland submitted a letter of intent to purchase the land. During their extensive title search they uncovered that in the early 1900s one-half of the interest in the property was sold to Western Maryland Railway to build piers for a bridge.
The sale was never recorded in the Washington County land records or reflected on the state tax card information. My Seller purchased the islands back in the 1980s as a novelty purchase and did not think title insurance was necessary since the property had transferred a few times without any issues.
Sometime in the 1980s Western Maryland Railway was acquired by CSX. My Seller approached CSX to clear up the issue with the title, however they have been unwilling to work with him to try and complete the sale with the State of Maryland. After CSX was notified about the issue a few months later their name appeared on the tax card. Upon discovering this and not having authorization or the proper signatures from the current owners on my listing contract, I told my Seller I could no longer keep the property for sale. I promptly removed the property from the MLS and told him to please let me know once the deed dispute has been resolved.
So the moral of the story is always recommended to a purchaser; spend the extra dollars for the title insurance policy. It may save them allot of money and time in the future!!
This is entry #1 into the ActiveRain March 2023 Challenge "March to a Solution" hosted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP and Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
Leanne Smith I learned quite a bit on this transaction. When my Seller called me to sell the island in the Potomac River I had no idea the islands in the river were privately owned. The Potomac River in our area is in the State of Maryland to the bank on the Virginia & WVA state lines.