The real estate legal “pro tip” of the day is carefully assuring your property legal descriptions are updated after each partial conveyance so that the description of the “residue” is property on record with the county offices dealing with real estate matters.
When commercial and residential property owners acquire property, the deed into the buyer or grantee must have a legal description attached that is acceptable in form to the County Engineer, Auditor and Recorder in Ohio. If it is an existing property description (i.e., no change from when the seller took title to the property), there will be a legal description, and an already-created Auditor’s parcel associated with that land. It is thus not an issue that would impair the new closing. For new cut-ups and subdivisions, the developer/seller usually undertakes that process with the County Engineer, Auditor and Recorder before it is time for closing. At least it should.
As we approach a closing, commercial or residential, however, where we occasionally run into problems with getting a deed recorded because of a “new” legal descriptions is a situation in which an owner has conveyed away a part of the property that was originally deeded to him during the seller’s ownership of the property. Because of an eminent domain taking, a property line dispute with a neighbor, a conveyance of a sliver to an adjoining property owner, or a combination with an adjoining parcel, the legal description by which the owner took title is no longer current or accurate, and thus needs to be updated with the County Engineer, Auditor and Recorder.
This “updating” starts with two things: (1) A plat of new survey of the property showing the new boundaries, along with a “closure chart” that shows that the ending point of the legal description meets up with the starting point, and (2) a new legal description of the parcel to be conveyed. Then, it must be processed through the County offices to update the records of each. Finally, the deed should be ready for recording. But until these things are completed a deed is not recordable. Thus, it is hard to close a transaction unless and until the legal descriptions are thusly updated inasmuch as monetary liens and and other interests can slip in during this “gap.”
It is best to take these preliminary steps at the time of the act “cutting up” your parcel (i.e., concurrent with the eminent domain taking, the property line dispute with a neighbor, the conveyance of a sliver to an adjoining property owner, or the combination with an adjoining parcel), rather than waiting for a closing on a sale that might be years later, so that the time needed for a new survey and legal description, and processing with the Engineering, Auditor and Recorder do not delay your closing. Also, it is a smart practice to see if the buyer of the parcel (at the time of the original cutup) will pay the cost and handle the paperwork associated with getting the new plat and legal processed by the County.
Contact Isaac Heintz (513.946.6654), Eli N. Krafte-Jacobs (513.797.2853) or Jennings D. Kleeman (513.797.2858) for help with your real estate legal needs.