Instructions on performing property title searches

It would also list all liens and encumbrances along with their current status. It is also important to list all public records that were examined in writing such an abstract of title. You could have such a person in-house or outsource the process to an expert in title search. The steps involved in such a search are described below. A chain of title can be described as the sequence in which historical transfers of title to a property have occurred. It could also be derived from title plants that are privately owned and maintained by title companies.

These plants offer varieties such as index cards, tract books, punch cards and computerized data, even though all of them might contain essentially the same information about the history of the property.

These searches are often labor intensive and complex. Title examiners might often be required to revisit a time when property ownership laws were very different from what they are today.

5 Essential Steps of Title Search Process - Invensis Technologies

This could mean going back years. This might be the reason why the Marketable Title Act was introduced. The Marketable Title Act says that the chain of title be complete only back to years. This Title Act acts as a statute of limitations for potential claimants. The search usually starts with the current property owner and then proceeds using maps to conduct historical research. Maps can help visualize how a property has changed over time and whether the property under question may have previously existed within a larger tract of land. Index books could be used to get a brief legal reference of the property.

The index can be used to get the book and page reference for the documents pertaining to the property. This would help you focus on the right documents. However, it must be noted that if the chain of title is incomplete, then there is a cloud on the title.

Land title search

This could mean that the present owner does not have a marketable title. The chain could be incomplete due to a deed forgery, or something simple like a previous owner using a different name from the name used in acquiring the title. The remedy for this would be a quiet title suit.

In this suit, potential claimants would be brought to court and be required to establish that they have legal title to the land.


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If they are unable to do so, they will be disallowed from claiming any interest in the land later. Tax Search: The second step in the title search process would be tax search. This search would reveal the present status of real estate taxes against the property.


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One could find out if taxes are up to date or whether any taxes are overdue and unpaid from previous years. This search would also help determine if there are any special assessments against the land and whether they pertain to the present or past. Unpaid taxes create a lien against the property.

If a buyer purchases such a property, they might find the Government putting the property up for sale to pay those taxes or assessments. Note that if you take up title insurance it could protect you, as the lender, against loss from unpaid and overdue taxes and assessments. The person who inspects prepares a report to reveal any encroachments or other matters which would ultimately impact the title. The inspector would also look at the property to verify the lot size, look for evidence of easements that might not be on record and check the location of improvements. Inspectors must also see whether anybody is living on that property.

If an unrecorded easement or other evidence affecting the property title is noticed, the same is recorded and mentioned to the customer. If you take title insurance, these are shown as exceptions. The purpose of inspection is to supplement information obtained from the title search. Issues discovered via a title search can run the gamut from minor to significant. Even a company or professional experienced in conducting title searches can occasionally miss something, or there can be a paperwork error that leads to a document being overlooked.

For this reason, buyers will often purchase title insurance which can protect you and your mortgage lender from financial loss if a problem with the title arises during or after the sale.

What is a Property Title Search?

Title companies must do a search on every title in order to check for claims or liens of any kind against them before they can be issued. A title search is an examination of public records to determine and confirm a property's legal ownership, and to find out whether there are any claims are on the property. Erroneous surveys and unresolved building code violations are two examples of blemishes that can make the title "dirty. Unlike traditional insurance, which protects against future events, title insurance protects against claims for past occurrences.

Property Records

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5 Essential Steps of Title Search Process

What Is a Title Search? Key Takeaways A title search is the process whereby the ownership and claims on a piece of real property are evaluated before a transaction can take place. In order for most real estate transactions to occur, its title must be found to be clean - i.

Title insurance is often purchased to protect against a financial loss that may occur if a title is found to have issues. A basic owner's basic title insurance policy typically covers the following hazards:.