A CLOSER LOOK...
1. False impersonations of a previous owner
Common and similar names can make it possible to falsely "impersonate" a property owner. It is not difficult to obtain falsified identification. Imagine a husband wants to sell a home unbeknownst to his estranged wife. He can provide his girlfriend with a fake I.D. bearing his wife's name and she can impersonate the wife at the closing signing the documents as the wife and thus selling the home without the wife's knowledge. If a home is purchased that was once sold by a false owner, the new homeowner can risk losing legal claim to the property.
Like false impersonation forgeries is another claim arising from dishonesty. Sometimes forged or fabricated documents that affect property ownership are filed within public records, obscuring the rightful ownership of the property. Almost every person has some level of computer skills. It takes very minimal effort to create a believable forgery that can become part of the public record. Once these forgeries are discovered home ownership may be in jeopardy.
3. Illegal deeds
While the chain of title on a property may appear perfectly sound, it's possible that a prior deed was made by someone who lacked the capacity to enter into a deed such as a minor or a person of unsound mind. These instances may affect the enforce-ability of prior deeds, affecting prior (and possibly present) ownership.
4. Errors in public records
Part of being human is making mistakes, however mistakes affecting home ownership rights can have devastating repercussions. Clerical or filing errors could affect the deed or survey of a property and cause undo financial strain in order to resolve them.
5. Unknown liens
The debts owed by the prior owners can come to effect the new homeowners. Even though the former debt is not the new homeowners, banks or other financing companies can place liens on the property for unpaid debts even after the closing and ownership has been transferred. This is an especially worrisome issue with distressed properties.
6. Missing heirs
When a person dies, the ownership of his home may fall to his heirs, or those named within his will. However, those heirs are sometimes missing or unknown at the time of death. Other times, family members may contest the will for their own property rights. These scenarios — which can happen long after the property has been purchased could effect property rights.
7. Undiscovered encumbrances
At the time of purchase, it may be unknown that a third party holds a claim to all or part of the property — due to a former mortgage or lien, or non-financial claims, like restrictions or covenants limiting the use of your property.
8. Unknown easements
Although the homeowner might own the home and surrounding land there might but an unknown easement that prohibits use in some manner or could allow government agencies, businesses, or other parties to access all or portions of the property. While usually non-financial issues, easements can still affect the right to enjoy the property. For example if you purchased a home with a lovely backyard. You planned to put up a swing set and finish the patio so you could sit and watch your children play. But you soon came to learn that there was a driveway easement that crossed the back of your property (exactly in the spot for the swing set and patio ) that allowed your neighbor to drive his truck across your lawn to access his home. You would not be happy with that discovery.
9. Boundary/survey disputes
Although a homeowner may have seen several surveys of the property prior to purchasing, other surveys may exist that show differing boundaries. Therefore, a neighbor or other party may be able to claim ownership to a portion of the property or there may be unknown encroachments.
10. Undiscovered will
When a property owner dies with no apparent will or heir, the state may sell his or her assets, including the home. When such a home is purchased the new homeowner assume their rights as owner. However, even years later, the deceased owner's will may come to light and the rights to the property may be seriously jeopardized.