What real estate title issues should I be aware of?

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Title issues are rarely given much consideration by home buyers and sellers. Most buyers don't even know what title issues they should be concerned with. Sellers usually assume that there won't be any title problems affecting their property. However, unanticipated problem title issues can arise, often with unpleasant consequences. Recently, Oakland, Calif., homeowners were in for a big surprise. They negotiated a home sale and soon after discovered that their neighbor's mortgages appeared on the title report on their own property. The sellers naturally assumed that the title company that produced the report had made a mistake. But, after researching the problem, the title company informed the sellers that there was a problem, and it was due to no fault of the title company. About a year before putting their home on the market, the sellers substantially upgraded their drainage system. They approached their neighbors at that time and requested a drainage easement across the back of the n...