8-12 weeks is a typical quiet title time frame. However, do not assume that your quiet title is a typical one! There may be other factors at play. To accurately estimate your unique quiet title time frame, you must be aware of the factors discussed below (phases I through III). (This summary is based on Oklahoma law, but you will see a similar timeline for most any quiet title lawsuit.)
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- What is a quiet title action?
- Can I do a quiet title myself? Sure, just don’t screw it up.
- Before hiring a quiet title attorney, read this.
- How much does a quiet title action cost?
- Can I recover attorney fees in a quiet title lawsuit?
Each phase of the quiet title time frame is discussed below. But before delving into those details, consider the value of your own time. To shortcut the process and receive customized information on your specific quiet title situation, sign up for a free quiet title consultation:
As with any lawsuit, there is a waiting period associated with each step of the quiet title process. Here is a brief overview of the quiet title timeline (these are average time estimates):
Phase I: Fact Finding and Investigation: 1 day to 2 weeks.
First, your attorney must communicate with you, gather the facts, and get a good grasp of the situation. Some quiet titles are extremely simple and routine (like a routine tax sale quiet title). On the other hand, some quiet title actions involve dozens of different title defects, all rolled into one nasty mess. If the claims are simple, your attorney may have a Petition filed within a day. Other times, your attorney must perform extensive title research. Did your attorney with a title opinion from a title company? Or did you ask your attorney to perform the title work himself? If your attorney can rely on title work that has already been completed, then he can generate a quiet title petition much faster. On the other hand, if your attorney must spend days researching the county records, then progress will be much slower.
Phase II: Service and Response: 4-7 weeks.
After filing the petition, your attorney must serve it on each defendant. Each defendant has 20 days to respond. That’s three more weeks of waiting. (For an explanation of why you must name defendants to fix title issues, see “What is a Quiet Title Action?“). The service process can take even longer if any defendants are deceased or cannot be located. In this case, you must publish the petition in a local paper. The publication must run for 3 consecutive weeks. After those three weeks are up, the defendants have 20 days to respond. So, it takes at least 6 weeks to serve a defendant by publication. Of course, if there are any delays, the service process can take even longer.
If you filed a quiet title simply to cure title issues, chances are that no one will object to your claims. In this case, you can proceed to the next step as soon as each defendant’s response deadline has expired. However, if you filed a quiet title action to settle an ownership dispute, then expect a long and expensive lawsuit.
So when you ask, “what is my quiet title time frame” Your attorney should ask, “is it likely to be contested?” The same goes for estimating the cost of a quiet title action.
Phase III: Preparation and Filing of Journal Entry: 2-4 weeks.
If no one objected to your quiet title suit, then your attorney can move on to the final phase. To officially complete the process, your attorney will likely obtain a court order called a “Journal Entry.” This Journal Entry is the judge’s official stamp of approval on your quiet title action. It may take your attorney a few days to prepare and file a Journal Entry. Then, it may take the judge another week or two to review and approve the Journal Entry, depending on the county. This timeline can vary, but 2-4 weeks is fairly common.
Based on each phase described above, a standard quiet title time frame is often 8-12 weeks. But as you can see, many factors influence can affect length. The time frame varies based on the complexity of the title issues involved and contested quiet title lawsuits take much longer.
As a quiet title specialist and real estate attorney, I would be happy to assist you.