Marketable Title

Jude Burtler, Shawn Grimsley
  • Author
    Jude Burtler

    Jude Burtler has a Master’s degree in Financial Economics from the Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has over 3 years in teaching Economics and Finance.

  • Instructor
    Shawn Grimsley

    Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Explore marketable titles. Learn the definition of a marketable title and understand the legal acts related to it. Find how unmarketable titles are fixed. Updated: 05/09/2022

Table of Contents


What is a Marketable Title?

What is a marketable title? Marketable title is a title that a court of equity finds free of defects to the point where it will legally force a buyer to accept it. A marketable title definition is not necessarily devoid of flaws; rather, it is devoid of flaws severe enough that a wise buyer would accept the title as-is.

The terms marketable title and merchantable title are synonymous. In the absence of a contrary agreement, the contract contains an implied guarantee that the vendor possesses marketable title. When a title is marketable, it indicates that the chain of ownership (title) for a specific piece of property is clear and devoid of faults. However, with an insurable title, the title insurance company has agreed to offer coverage against these faults so that they do not impair the property's ownership or value. In addition, Insurable titles lack the assurances of marketable titles.

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  • 0:06 What Is a Marketable Title?
  • 2:51 Fixing Unmarketable Title
  • 3:42 Marketable Title Acts
  • 5:04 Lesson Summary
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Importance of Marketable Title

Generally, a problem is more likely to arise if the company's history is lengthy and complex. An ancient claim against property may be cut off by enacting marketable title acts in several jurisdictions, making the title unmarketable. Every real estate transaction includes a seller's implied promise that the property will be delivered with a marketable title. There are no faults in the chain of title, encumbrances on land that are not stated in the deed, or zoning violations considered marketable. Owners who have marketable titles can sell their property at market value without a buyer's objection. Typically. A title is marketable if there is no room for ambiguity. In order to be able to sell the property for a higher price, the owner must have a clear title that is free of liens, encumbrances, and flaws in the chain of title. A claim of ownership to a piece of property that is not stated within a particular length of time is automatically terminated by this law.

Marketable vs. Unmarketable Titles

Sellers who sell land to buyers are contractually obligated to deliver marketable title to the buyer at the time of closing the deal. It is illegal to sell a piece of land if it has financial liabilities, such as mortgages, unless the buyer agrees to waive them. An unmarketable title contains a severe flaw that would discourage a rational buyer from acquiring the title in the first place. For this reason, it's impossible to sell a property with an unmarketable title because of the increased danger of a lawsuit or financial damage from a defective title. There are very few instances where an owner's present mortgage hinders a buyer's ability to purchase real estate. In order for a title to be considered marketable, it must be devoid of severe faults that a buyer would be willing to overlook if the title were available.

A title's unmarketability can be caused by a variety of factors. In addition, there are any active liens or mortgages on the property. As a result of taking over a property, the original owner's title is rendered unmarketable. Problems with the title chain mean that only properties that have changed hands legally can have a clear chain of title. If there is a problem with the property's prior owner, the chain of title is broken.

How Are Unmarketable Titles Fixed?

An action to quiet title is the legal term for a lawsuit filed to clear a title. Ownership and title to property can be established by filing a quiet title action. This notice can be filed with the local land records office once a quiet title case has been resolved. Consequently, settling concerns with a mortgage lender's interest in the property after the loan was paid off was not appropriately dealt with. When a property's ownership becomes hazy, and its title becomes cloudy, it is common to clarify the title. To allow potential buyers to bid on a property that has been uninhabited for a long period.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a title marketable?

Different aspects make a title to be considered marketable. These components include being free and clear of any doubts that can make a rational buyer find it objectionable.

What is the difference between marketable title and insurable title?

It is fair to say that all marketable titles are insurable titles, but not all insurable titles are marketable. Insurable titles tend to ensure any property despite any title defects. A marketable title is free from any threat of litigation.

What is an example of marketable title?

There are numerous examples of marketable titles. They include an insurable title, possessory title, and a title that is known with easements.

What does it mean when a title is marketable?

When a title is marketable, it means that the title is free from any reasonable doubt or any threat of facing any legal action. The opposite is the case of an unmarketable title.

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