Trick Title Question

Once upon a time, Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother found the perfect place to live—a house where Red Riding could care for her Granny without having to cross the woods.  Then the Little Red Hen found the same house, ideal for raising a whole flock of chicks and in a terrific school district.  Since each party was so interested in the property, Mr. Lamb sold it to them both as follows: At 9:00 a.m. Mr. Lamb went to Acme Acres Title Company and sold the property to Red Riding Hood and her Granny. Then at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Lamb arrived promptly at Bargain Property Buys Title Company and sold the property to Little Red. At 11:00 a.m. Acme Acres recorded the closing. At 12:00 a.m. Bargain Buys recorded the closing. Who owns the property? To be sure, Mr. Lamb was a wolf wrapped in velum, but which set of documents is a valid conveyance of the property title, the one signed first at Acme Acres?  Or the second closing at Bargain Property Buys? Answer:  The Little Red Hen now owns the property.  The buyer at the second closing owns the property because that buyer took title without knowledge that […] Read More

What Does the Fox Say in Real Estate Title?

Music video, “What Does the Fox Say?” was produced as an anti-hit, simply to promote a television show.  Created to fail, it accidentally went viral on YouTube, with over 500 million views to date.  Similarly, the fox in the case Pierson v. Post had an unexpected outcome. Pierson v. Post is from English Common Law and is the first case you read in law school regarding real estate law.  Who gets to keep the fox—the guy who chased it or the guy who stepped in and shot it?  Which created the property?    Post chased down the fox and Pierson shot it.  What did the fox say?  Nothing—the fox was dead and awarded to Post. Florida is a Notice State.  The last person to take ownership without notice is the owner. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then before it is recorded Mr. Crook sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B.  The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has not made it to the courthouse yet.  Once the deed is recorded, then Constructive Notice is given. The […] Read More

The Fox, The Hound, The Hunter, & Notice

Once upon a time there was a Fox and a Hound.  The Hound chased the Fox all over hill and dale until he cornered it, and then a Hunter shot the Fox. “Hey, that is my fox!” the Hound protested, and he took the Hunter to court.  Sure enough, despite being the lesser-armed and the lesser-thumbed, the Hound won his case and got the dead fox.  That was all back in jolly old English law, but it holds true in Florida. Pierson v. Post is from English Common Law and is the first case you read in law school regarding real estate law.  Who gets to keep the dead fox—the guy who chased it or the guy who stepped in and shot it?  Which created the property?    Post chased down the fox and Pierson shot it.  The dead fox was awarded to Post. Florida is a Notice state. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then before it is recorded Mr. Crook sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B.  The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has […] Read More

Property Tax Bill

It is November, did you get a tax bill on your real estate?  It is not due till late March (though the earlier you pay the less it costs), but it is your notice of ownership. “All owners of property shall be held to know that taxes are due and payable annually and are charged with the duty of ascertaining the amount of current and delinquent taxes and paying them before April 1st of the following year in which taxes are assessed.”  Florida Statutes 197.122. Florida is a Notice State.  That means ownership priority is given to the buyer who lacks constructive notice of earlier conflicting interests.  If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then before it is recorded Mr. Crook sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B.  The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has not made it to the courthouse yet.  Once the deed is recorded, then Constructive Notice is given. Constructive Notice is a legal fiction that helps prioritize claims. If you own property and have not received a tax bill (or notice), that […] Read More

Florida: The Constructive Notice State

Florida is a state of sunshine, beaches, and Constructive Notice on property title.  Most title companies try to make that gap between closing and the time a deed is recorded as small as possible…for good reason. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then an hour later sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B. The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has not made it to the courthouse yet.  Once the deed is recorded, then Constructive Notice is given. Read More