Category Archives: Real Estate Information

What is an “Abstract of Title”?

An abstract of title is the condensed history of title to a particular parcel of real estate.

It consists of a summary of the original grant and all of the subsequent conveyances and encumbrances affecting the property as well as  a certification by the abstractor that the history is complete and accurate.

In the United States, the abstract of title furnishes the raw data for the preparation of a policy of title insurance for the parcel of land in question.

An abstract of title should be distinguished from an opinion of title.

While an abstract states that all of the public record documents concerning the property in question are contained therein, an opinion states the professional judgment of the person giving the opinion as to the vesting of the title and other matters concerning the status of the chain of title.

Many jurisdictions define the giving of an opinion of title as the practice of law, thus making it unlawful for a non-attorney to do so.

What is “Adverse Possession”?

Adverse possession is a concept in law which concerns the title of a real property.

In common law, adverse possession is the process by which title to another’s real property is acquired without compensation, by holding or using the property in a manner that conflicts with the true owner’s rights for a specified period.

Circumstances of the adverse possession determine the type of title acquired by the disseisor (the one who obtains the title as a result of the adverse possession action), which may be fee simple title, mineral rights, or other interest in real property.

Adverse possession’s origins are based both in statutory actions and in common law precepts, so the details concerning adverse possession actions vary by jurisdiction.

The required period of uninterrupted possession is governed by the statute of limitations for each state. In Maryland the period of possession is 20 years.

Three Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Are you thinking about hiring a real estate agent? If so, you are on the brink of making a very good decision. This holds true no matter if you are hiring an agent to sell your home, or if you are in the market for a new property. Either way, asking specific questions of potential real estate agents will give you a feel for what you are getting into.

Here are three of the most important questions to go over with your agent before hiring them.

  1. Do you have any experience in my area of interest? If you are buying a home, you want to make sure that your agent has experience in the neighborhood. This way they will know where to look for properties, what to expect, how to negotiate, and much more. The same thing holds true if you are a seller. No matter what, you want to get further information on the experience of every agent you are considering.
  2. If you are selling your home, you need to find out what your real estate agent will charge as a commission. While this is pretty much standard, you still want to make sure of this. After all, it is better to know about the commission rate up front than to get hit with a big number when it is finally time to sign the contract. You will more than likely find out that most real estate agents work with a standard fee that is identical.
  3. What do you do that sets you apart from other agents? This can be a difficult question, but one that you should ask. You want to hire a real estate agent that thinks outside of the box, and has ideas that are unconventional. When you hire an agent who is willing to do anything for you to achieve success, you will be in good shape. Most agents have a list of things that they do which could be considered unique, etc.

Overall, ask every real estate agent you are considering these questions. Their answers will determine which one you hire, and how you move on.