Why Do I Need an Affidavit to Buy a House?

If you’re planning on buying a house, there are a few legal formalities that you need to comply with to ensure that the property is successfully transferred to your name without encumbrances. One of the important legal documents that you need from the seller is an affidavit of title.

You can easily get a blank free affidavit form online. But first, let’s understand what an affidavit of title is and why it’s important when buying a house. Let’s dive in.

What Is an Affidavit of Title?

An affidavit of title is a legal document that proves that the seller legally owns and can sell the property that is being offered. This document is also known as a seller’s affidavit, owner’s affidavit, owner’s declaration, or borrower’s affidavit.

In an affidavit, the seller typically makes several sworn legally binding statements such as:

  • The seller is the actual owner of the house in question.
  • The seller is currently not involved with bankruptcy proceedings.
  • The seller is not selling the house to another person at the same time.
  • The house has no outstanding taxes, assessments, or liens against it.

Why Does a House Buyer Need an Affidavit of Title?

Here are 4 key reasons why you need an affidavit of title when buying a house:

1. Proof of Ownership

An affidavit of title provides legal proof that the seller legitimately owns the property thereby protecting buyers from real estate scams. It is commonly used in real estate transactions to guarantee the buyer of any facts that the seller states or claims about it. It helps the buyer verify those facts and purchase the house with peace of mind.

An affidavit of title also helps you make sure that the house is free and clear of external claims at the time of purchase. It provides buyers an additional layer of protection against any legal issues related to the ownership of the house that may surface after the deal is closed.

2. Seller’s Confirmation Against Bankruptcy

When a homeowner is involved in bankruptcy proceedings, they first need to get approval from a trustee to sell the house. This can take a lot of time and create issues for the potential buyer. An affidavit of title provides a legal guarantee to the buyer that the owner can sell the property without the ensuing complications of bankruptcy.

3. Relief From Assuming the Responsibility of Unpaid Liens or Taxes

Often, a homeowner may sell a house that has unpaid liens, assessments, or taxes against it without disclosing it to the buyer. An affidavit of title requires a seller to clearly disclose these facts so that new homeowners don’t end up taking on the legal responsibility of any pending liens or unpaid taxes.

4. Assurance That the Seller Is Not Selling the House to Another Party

It is against the law to sell the same house to two more buyers at the same time. An affidavit of title provides the guarantee that a buyer is the sole party who will receive the title upon purchase.