Proactively Preventing Property Disputes: Tips For Buyers

Purchasing or inheriting property, as well as being gifted property, can create several different legal issues when the property is sold. For a buyer, making a purchase of such an inherited or gifted property can create a risk of an ownership dispute after the purchase.

To help purchasers to avoid these type of issues, understanding a potential source of dispute prior to the purchase will provide a clear picture of any possible issues.

Purchasing Inherited or Gifted Property

It is important to understand that the ownership of gifted or inherited property may be under dispute from the heirs to the estate. In some cases, the gift or the inheritance may be found to be invalid through the courts, which can also invalidate the sale. Failing to ensure that the person representing himself or herself as the owner of the inherited or gifted property is the legitimate owner is a serious error and a source of dispute.

Ask to see the proof of inheritance, which may be a will, letter of administration, succession certificate or probate documentation. In some situations, it may simply be proof that the property was distributed to the heirs according to the appropriate succession laws.

Legal Construction

There are can also be situations where the builder did not construct the property according to plan. As a buyer, take the time to work with the builder to compare the sanctioned plan and the actual construction. If the two are not the same and the actual building deviates from the plan, it may well be an illegal construction.

Licenses and Approvals

Similar to requesting to see documentation of ownership as well as the legal construction of a property, it will be important to verify that the property or the plans for the home meet all local municipal requirements and have the necessary approvals. There may also be licenses required before construction can start.

Make it a point to verify all aspects of the home purchase or construction project are in full compliance and that the seller is the valid owner without any dispute. While these are additional steps, it is the only way to reduce the risk of being caught up in a lengthy and costly property dispute.