Understanding the real estate title search

A title search determines if any leans or administrative defects exist in the public records for a property. Most mortgage companies require a clean title search before completing any purchase transaction. Though many people are familiar with the existence of the title search process, few understand what it is.

There are a few things every potential real estate buyer should know.

Who handles a title search?

In most cases, an attorney or title company conducts the title search. The prospective property buyer commonly commissions the search, though sometimes the request comes from a lender or someone with a vested interest in the property’s ownership history and title status.

How is a title search conducted?

The title search itself involves comprehensive research through public records, legal filings and tax record information. This research verifies the owner on record for the property. It also uncovers any vested interest in that property, such as liens filed against it. Finally, it details the tax basis and payment history to uncover any delinquent taxes or potential tax liens that could threaten the transaction.

What is the result of a title search?

After the search, you receive a report that declares the title either clean or conflicted. If the report declares the title conflicted, you need to consider the potential conflicts, liens or other issues before deciding how to proceed.

These are the fundamentals of the title search process. Understanding what to expect makes it easier to navigate and prepares you for the final results of the search.



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