Purchasing a property is a very large investment and completing a title search is an important part of the process.
A title search is generally performed after the buyer makes an offer to purchase the property and it has been accepted by the seller. Title searches not only determine who owns the property, but they also ensure that the buyer is aware of any liens, claims and judgments which helps the buyer avoid responsibility for those issues after the purchase.
In order to complete a title search, the buyer will need specific information about the property. This includes the property’s legal description, which is found on the property’s tax statement. This should not be confused with the property’s address.
There are several sources where information about the property may be found. These include deeds, county land records, tax liens, divorce cases, bankruptcy court records and any other judgments that attach to the property. Most buyers do not complete title searches themselves because of the complexity and number of documents that need to be reviewed and all of the relevant information may not be available in the search.
Title disputes can arise and can include issues with title forgeries, unpaid home equity lines of credit, contractor bills and undocumented easements.
Most often, buyers are not required to have their own title insurance policy. However, some buyers choose to purchase title insurance to cover them if there is a dispute. It can protect them regarding claims against their ownership of the home.
An experienced attorney can help buyers with their property questions and provide advice.