The term actual notice is used most often in connection with property law, but the concept can also be applied in other law areas. To define actual notice, we can look at the two major types of notices used. There is actual notice, which means that a person has direct knowledge about something or having witnessed something happen, and constructive notice, which means that the person was mailed a notice to be informed and should be aware of it. Both types of notice are used in civil procedures and have equal legal effect. Here we’ll talk about actual notice and what it means in the real estate world.
The actual notice baseline is becoming aware of some information, either by word of mouth or reading. If we look at the actual notice in real estate definition, we can talk about a potential buyer having direct knowledge about property transactions that they are interested in or not. An example for actual notice in real estate could be John knowing about his mother’s home having an easement because she told him so, having discovered it only after she bought the property. Now John has an actual notice to check before purchasing a property.
Actual notice in real estate regards any information that is related to a property. Whether that knowledge is given from a real estate agent, the seller, the neighbor, or public records, it can be related to anything about the property. Liens, easements, property titles, land surveys, access to utilities, or any other financial information about the property can become knowledge included in the actual notice.
There are two types of actual notice in real estate or any other field: expressed actual notice or implied actual notice. In both of these types, information was given to a person directly, and the person either has the knowledge or has information that can make them enquire about the knowledge.
An expressed actual notice is considered when a person receives information directly from another person or reads it.
Example: John hears from his mother that there is an easement on the property he is interested in purchasing. Like this, John has expressed actual notice because his mother told him direct information about the terms of a real estate property.
With implied actual notice, the person deducts, speculates, or reaches knowledge derived by reasoning.
Example: John hears from his mother that there is an easement on her property, and she didn’t know about it until after she signed the contract and saw her neighbor using the same driveway to access his house. Like this, John is made aware of a situation, so when he decides to purchase a home, he investigates. If the seller does not reveal an easement, he can go and look through the public records to find out.