Real Estate

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, IT’S NOT CLOUDY

When purchasing real property in Florida, people will often tell you to make sure that you get “clear title” or “good title” to the property. That sounds like good advice, but what does it really mean? First of all, title is the legal right to control and dispose of property. A deed is evidence of having title to real property, and the different types of deeds were discussed in one of our recent articles. Clear title and good title are different ways of referring to having marketable title to real property. A common definition of marketable title in Florida is title “which a reasonable, prudent person would accept in the ordinary course of business after being fully apprised of the facts and the applicable law.” Additionally, title is marketable if it is free of “clouds” or “defects” such as adverse rights, interests or liens. 

The Florida Uniform Title Standards are a reference for determining whether title is marketable. The preface to the Title Standards describes a title standard as “a voluntary agreement made in advance by members of [The Florida] Bar on the manner of treating a particular title problem when and if it arises.” The Title Standards have not been formally approved by any court or legislative body; however, they are well established principles used by real estate attorneys in Florida when examining title to real property. 

Obtaining title insurance when purchasing real property is the typical way of determining that title is marketable. A real estate attorney will examine recorded documents affecting title to the property, and then apply the Title Standards to any title problems that arise in the examination. Typically a buyer will have a contractual right to object if a seller’s title to real property is unmarketable. Assuming the seller’s title is marketable, the parties can proceed to closing and the buyer will receive an owner’s policy of title insurance. Title insurance is an indemnity against loss resulting from a title defect. If a defect is discovered after closing which renders title unmarketable, and the title insurance policy did not except or exclude the defect from coverage, then the title insurer will typically have to pay up to the policy limits to have the defect removed. 

One of our experienced attorneys can help you with your title questions, as well as closing your real estate transactions. 

Mike Workman

Michael Workman first knew he wanted to become both an attorney and CPA during his junior year at Winter Haven High School when he took classes in accounting and business law.Michael accomplished this goal through his studies at Stetson University and the University of Florida College of Law, ultimately being admitted to The Florida Bar in the fall of 1997 and becoming licensed as a CPA by The State of Florida in the spring of 1998.With a background in both law and accounting, Michael planned for his practice to include probate and estate planning, corporate and entity work, and some real estate work.True to plan, that’s exactly how Michael’s career progressed during his first three years of practice with his time being almost evenly divided among those three areas.However, Michael had the opportunity to join Clark Campbell in 2001, and the needs of the firm’s clients coupled with his strong background in title insurance lead to Michael concentrating his practice in the area of real estate law and ultimately becoming Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in the area of real estate law in 2005.

Michael has been married to his wife Dena since 2003, and they are both very active in the lives of their fraternal twins, John and Sarah.Additionally, Michael has recently participated in several team-building endurance events sponsored by a company called GORUCK.These events are billed as a slice of Special Operations training for civilians where leadership is taught and teamwork is demanded.Michael has learned more about teamwork and bonded more closely with his teammates during these events than would have ever been possible in “normal” everyday life.The saying “one team, one fight” is often heard and repeated during GORUCK events, and Michael seeks to exemplify that same spirit of teamwork in his practice of law.
Mike Workman

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