The cost of a quiet title action ranges from $1,500 to $5,000 for an uncontested lawsuit. Contested (or litigated) quiet title actions can cost much more. Cost mainly depends on the complexity of the title issue and whether the action is opposed.
Complex or numerous title defects increase legal costs.
In order to accurately estimate quiet title action cost, you must first understand the nature of a quiet title action. (For a full explanation, see: What is a quiet title action?) In very simple terms, a quiet title action is a legal proceeding used to cure title defects or to settle ownership disputes. A title defect is a broken link in the chain of title to your property. The more broken links in your chain of title, the more effort is required by your attorney. For example, imagine that there are 7 different title defects in your chain of title. Each of those defects represents a separate problem that your attorney must solve. In contrast, imagine that there is only one defect in your chain of title. This requires far less time and effort from your attorney.
Contested lawsuits cost more than uncontested ones.
In an uncontested quiet title, your attorney must cure a title defect, but no one disputes that you actually own the property. In a contested quiet title, two or more parties disagree over who owns the property. A contested quiet title action can easily explode into a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. For this reason, quiet title cost increases drastically when a matter is contested.
So, how do I determine a fair quiet title action cost?
If an attorney offers you an abnormally low rate, you should question the quality of legal representation. Bargain shopping for toothpaste is great. Bargain shopping for an attorney is risky. The stakes are too high. If the quote seems significantly lower than other quotes, you may receive a significantly lower level of service. On the other hand, protect yourself from excessive quiet title action cost. Many solo attorneys or small firms offer quality representation at rates significantly lower than large downtown firms.
Look for an attorney who focuses on your specific area of law. If you are dealing with a real estate issue, do not hire a general practice attorney who dabbles in real estate law. Instead, hire an attorney who has demonstrated a specific focus on real estate and property law.