Whether you own residential or commercial property, you can never be too careful when it comes to avoiding fraud and protecting your real estate. Title fraud protection is a wise investment, and it could help prevent a far more serious loss or financial hardships. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to proactively defend against title theft and fraud. You may already be taking some these basic steps. Read on for more.
If you have any vacant or unused properties, they should be monitored and inspected regularly. It’s best to not follow a strict schedule, since criminals tend to be smart about anticipating visitors. Visit the property at different times and on different days. Check the locks, doors, and windows, and look for any sign of illegal occupation or use.
Treat any recently inherited property like your own. Monitor and inspect it carefully as well. It’s not a bad idea to take pictures and inventory furniture, electronics, or other items that are in the home and might be valuable or get moved. Additionally, you should try and keep all of your properties in good condition. Have the lawn mowed, fix any broken screens, and be sure to maintain its general appearance and cleanliness. Homes that look abandoned or neglected are prime targets for fraud.
As a general rule, title insurance is always worth the investment. However, you should also have an up-to-date policy. Don’t allow your policy to lapse. A lapsed policy isn’t safeguarding anything. Much like you wouldn’t drive your car without insurance, you shouldn’t rent out property without title protection. Even if it isn’t currently occupied, the policy still needs to be maintained.
Have you had payment books or other bank or mortgage information show up unexpectedly? This is a clear sign of fraud. Respond to any notices or correspondence quickly and decisively. Never allow this sort of mail to pile up or go unattended. Any unanticipated bank or mortgage details must be investigated promptly, and you may need to contact the authorities.
Stay on top of your tax bill. If you haven’t received your most recent tax bill, check with the city immediately to find out why. Sometimes it’s simply late being sent out, but this is rare. Otherwise, it could have been sent somewhere else due to fraud.
If you do suspect fraud, don’t hesitate to speak with law enforcement. Unfortunately, investigations do take time. Meanwhile, you can work with a local real estate attorney to acquire what’s commonly known as a quiet title. This title should remove any deeds that were improperly or fraudulently recorded. Obviously, you’ll need your original deed, mortgage documents, insurance policies, and any other relevant materials that can be used to establish that you are the rightful owner. You can’t really have too much documentation. It’s always better to be overprepared.
No one wants to deal with title fraud. However, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s a real possibility. Safeguarding your property must be a priority. There are many unscrupulous people out there, and criminal activity is ever present. With title fraud protection as well as other basic steps, you can better secure your investment and defend your property from criminals. Speak with Secure Title Lock at 801-225-2888 to learn more, and you can begin proactively preserving your real estate today.