DEAR BOB: Twelve years ago, I bought some rural land and received a warranty deed. My seller has been dead at least 10 years. I have leased the property all these years to a farmer who grazes his cattle there. Now an adjoining farmer (not my tenant) claims about seven acres of my fenced land belongs to him. He threatens to sue me for using his land for the 12 years I have been allegedly using his land. What should I do? – Althea W.
DEAR ALTHEA: A warranty deed, used in many states, warrants that the seller conveys valid title to the buyer. However, a warranty deed is only as good as the seller’s honesty.
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As with any deed, the buyer should always insist on receiving an owner’s title insurance policy from a reliable title insurance company. With rural land, a survey is usually made at the time of the sale and the survey is insured as part of the buyer’s title policy.
If you did not receive an owner’s title policy, insuring a survey of your land, you are on your own if that neighbor sues you in a quiet-title lawsuit for those seven acres. However, if you have an owner’s title policy, just turn the matter over to your title insurer to resolve with the neighbor. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
IT IS WELL PAST TIME TO FORECLOSE FOR NON-PAYMENT
DEAR BOB: Many years ago we sold some land and carried back the mortgage for our buyer. But it has now been a year and half since we received the last payment. The final payment is over two years past due. We get no response when we try to contact our buyer. But we think he has health problems and is possibly dead. We would like the land back. How should we proceed? – Vicki H.
DEAR VICKI: You certainly are very patient. Rather than waiting all this time for your unpaid payments, you should have begun foreclosure long ago.
As an investor, I have begun foreclosure on many mortgages I held. My begging and pleading for payments fell on deaf ears. But when I filed foreclosure papers, I usually got my payments. In only two situations did my buyers refuse to pay and the property was foreclosed.
I suggest you begin foreclosure for the unpaid payments on the land you sold. Either you will receive the money, or you will wind up owning the land again (which is apparently what you want). Consult a local real estate attorney for details.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF CARLTON SHEETS?
DEAR BOB: Over the last few years, I have often viewed the TV infomercials of real estate guru Carlton Sheets. What do you know about him? Is his material any good? – Roland S.
DEAR ROLAND: I met Carlton Sheets about five years ago in Sarasota, Fla., where we enjoyed dinner together (I paid!). He seems like a decent, honest realty investor who wants to help new and experienced investors become wealthy like he is.
It has been about three years since I reviewed his videotape, audio and printed materials. They were very good quality and I could not find any fault.
His infomercials have been on TV for more than 20 years, updated annually. Although I have received complaints about his nasty fulfillment operation and refund policies, I don’t know of anything personally unfavorable about Carlton Sheets or his products.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “The Whole Truth About Reverse Mortgages for Senior Citizen Homeowners,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet PDF delivery at www.bobbruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
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