What We Do
Restoring ownership interests and unlocking the value of dormant land requires a number of strategic steps, from the meticulous review of public records to the careful navigation of legal and administrative challenges. The following sections describe GSI's comprehensive approach to land that is encumbered by complex title issues:
Identifying Dormant Real Estate
GSI's team is expert in finding real estate that has remained dormant due to missing ownership interests or other title issues. Once identified, the dormant parcels are analyzed to determine whether there is a practical path for the team to resolve the title issues and realize value for its clients. If it appears that GSI can add value, the firm's team of lawyers, title experts, genealogists, engineers and surveyors go to work.
Locating Rightful Landowners
Once a dormant land parcel has been identified, GSI performs an extensive title search to determine the last known record owner of the property. This process can involve piecing together facts from more than 100 years of public records relating to both the particular parcel and to the surrounding land parcels. With the record owner located, GSI then traces the records forward to the present and identifies the living heirs who may have ownership interests in the property. These ownership interests are often "fractured," or held amongst many different people, and it is GSI's task to put the puzzle back together again. To solve the puzzle, GSI's genealogists perform exhaustive research on a variety of records across the country including vital records, newspaper microfiche, probate dockets and state archives.
Perfecting the Title
By partnering with the record owner's heirs, GSI can consolidate the fractured ownership interests of a property into one unified entity. This step often requires locating and coordinating over one hundred heirs who may who may be scattered around the globe. GSI executes costly and time-consuming legal and administrative work in probate and land courts to ensure that the interests of all rightful landowners are protected. GSI's attorneys are expert in probating estates and have completed many extraordinarily difficult title reconstructions involving numerous dispersed ownership interests.
Unlocking the Value
Once the title and ownership issues have been resolved, GSI's team turns to unlocking the underlying value of the land. For this stage, GSI works with engineers, surveyors, attorneys and local municipalities in order to overcome any legal or engineering impediments to the property's potential value. Frequently, dormant parcels lack access to roads, and it may be necessary to acquire additional land or negotiate access agreements with abutting landowners. In other cases, the parcel's value is impaired by engineering or permitting issues, which must be resolved in order to create value. Over the past 35 years, GSI has assembled an expert team of consultants who are experienced in resolving the wide range of challenges that can detract from the value of the property.