Can Someone “Steal” Your Real Property? What Are Your Rights When Someone Forges a Deed and Conveys Your Property?
There’s an ominous warning making its way around the internet, particularly on social media. This rumor concerns your home and raises concerns about the ability of a third party to forge a deed to your property, sell it and leave you dispossessed. There are even “insurance” companies who will sell you a policy to cover the potential losses, should it happen to you.
Is there any truth to this allegation? Can someone successfully transfer your property with a forged deed and leave you without recourse?
Can an Imposter Forge and File a Deed to Your Property?
This certainly can happen, but it doesn’t mean that actual title has legally passed or that you are without recourse. A forged deed has no legal effect—the only valid deed for any property must come from the legal owner. The bogus deed, even if recorded with the county register of deeds, conveys nothing and grants no legal rights to the parties ostensibly receiving title to the property.
What Makes It Unlikely That Such a Transfer Would Ever Happen?
There are a number of safeguards in place to prevent such a scenario from occurring in the first place. Even if a potential scammer is able to prepare what appears to be a real deed, accurately completing all necessary information, the scammer’s signature at a closing must be verified by a notary public, who will require valid identification. That means that the scammer must also forge identification documents.
Additionally, if the buyer seeks to finance the purchase, the lender will typically require extensive documentation, including credit reports, income and employment verifications, tax returns, and title insurance. In the process of doing its due diligence, the lender is likely to notice any irregularities.
The chances of successfully pulling of this scam with a cash transaction are also slim, as virtually anyone who buys property will secure a policy of title insurance. If the buyer obtains title insurance, he or she is likely to learn that the transaction is bogus. If the buyer fails to get title insurance, he’s unlikely to find an attorney or real estate firm that will handle the transaction for him.
What Happens When a Real Estate Transfer Involves a Forged Deed?
Suppose that a scammer forges a deed to your property and sells it for cash to a buyer who doesn’t purchase a policy of title insurance. It’s the buyer and lender who will be left holding the bag, as no legal title has passed.
Contact the Experienced Real Estate Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the laws governing real estate transactions in Texas, and can protect your rights in any type of real estate controversy. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven Texas real estate attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.