For most people, a home is more than a piece of property. A home can be a place where you grow your family and find happiness, and owning a home can be a sign of success and comfort.
However, a home is still property that is subject to laws and regulations. Because of this, it is crucial that you have legal counsel before you buy or sell any property in Florida. Doing so could help you identify and avoid some serious issues with a property. For instance, one homeowner recently learned that she is unable to sell her home because she doesn't legally own all of it.
Uncovering the unfortunate truth
According to a recent article, a woman in another state planned to sell her home to her daughter. However, after a plat survey (which is a map of land divisions and boundaries), she learned that a railroad company owns part of her house. According to the survey, the only part of her home that she actually owns is a back room and part of the kitchen.
The issue was not uncovered sooner for at least a few reasons. First, there hadn't been a plat survey conducted in the area recently. Second, the street that had once defined a boundary is evidently in the wrong place. Finally, as the article notes, railroads do not pay taxes, meaning the ownership conflict went unnoticed by the city.
What happens next?
The homeowner and others in the area who are in the same situation now have a few legal issues to resolve.
They are examining the possibility of buying the homes from the railroad company, and they will likely need to attempt to clear the titles and possibly seek money from the city for taxes they paid on the property.
How Florida homeowners (and prospective owners) can avoid a similar situation
This is an unusual situation, but similar problems can arise whenever someone buys or sells a property. There may be title issues, boundary disputes and assessment discrepancies that affect ownership as well as price.
To avoid the costly consequences of these and other real estate matters, it can be wise to have legal counsel before completing any transaction.