Real Estate Law

Real-Estate Settlements

Our law firm competently handles both residential, investment, and commercial transactions—regardless of whether it is a purchase or a refinance—in both the State of Delaware and Pennsylvania. In most circumstances, we can offer our clients the ability to close the matter in our office, the client’s home or place of business, a realtor’s office, or a lender’s office.

In purchase transactions, we strongly encourage our clients to purchase owner’s title insurance policy to protect themselves against potential defects in the chain of title that the standard title search may not reveal. If a prior deed was forged, fraud came into play, a foreclosure was improperly handled, or an estate was not properly dealt with in the past, an owner’s title insurance policy will protect the purchaser against these types of defects and problems. If the client is obtaining a loan to purchase the property, owner’s title insurance can be issued simultaneously with the lender’s policy for what generally amounts to just a few hundred dollars more. It should be noted that a lender’s policy only protects the lender (who is considered the mortgagee in the transaction) and not the buyer/owner.

Resolving Real-Estate Title Defects

Our law firm has substantial experience in resolving title issues in the State of Delaware. If a prior settlement was improperly handled or a defect is discovered that needs to be addressed, Mr. Funk can assist in resolving the problem. The list of title issues that Mr. Funk has experience in handling and resolving are:

  • open and unsatisfied mortgages;
  • open and unsatisfied judgments;
  • boundary-line issues;
  • improperly closed estates;
  • lack of access to a property;
  • estates that were opened but never properly closed.

The number one issue that we encounter that is considered a title defect is an open mortgage. The law in the State of Delaware requires a lender to prepare a satisfaction instrument for the Recorder of Deeds upon receiving full payment for the mortgage. While most lenders file the satisfaction instrument automatically at the Recorder of Deeds, some out-of-state lenders occasionally will mail these directly to the borrower and this unfortunately can cause these important documents to become lost, discarded, and unrecorded in the official records. Our office is efficient at resolving these open mortgage issues without litigation (but never afraid to use it when necessary). If the lender (i.e. the mortgagee) is no longer in business or is deceased, we are able to resolve those problems for clients relatively quickly through the court system.

If a judgment was paid off and the creditor fails to satisfy that judgment within sixty days, the debtor who paid it off can compel satisfaction and sue also for statutorily imposed monetary damages. We find this to occur less frequently than open mortgages because most creditors have competent local attorneys who quickly satisfy the judgments upon receiving a payoff. The occasional problem arises when you have an unrepresented plaintiff/judgment creditor who is unfamiliar with the law.