I was reading the Globe and Mail yesterday and came across this article about an extreme surveying blunder. Essentially, because of surveying errors by the provincial government on First Nations lands dating back over 100 years, many people in the Squamish area of British Columbia have recently discovered that the do not in fact own the properties they have called home for years, and in some cases decades. The province has pledged to purchase the properties at market value for those who are affected, and those who wish to stay will be allowed to have the properties transferred to them after an agreement was supposedly reached with the Squamish Nation. The transfer process will likely be long and complex.
While this particular situation would almost certainly not have been discoverable through searches by the lawyers involved, considering the error was an improper survey pin placed in 1917, it still highlights the need to have proper searches done before you complete your purchase. As I blogged about here, there are a number of searches that real estate lawyers do as part of ensuring that you have clean and proper title to your home. And when you get your report, you can check out your deed to see exactly what you purchased.