What Is a Title Search?

It’s great that you found your next home, and buying a house is an exciting part of life. Some might call it a right of passage, however this rite of passage can be tempered by the stress of completing the necessary steps from upper to closing to meet your lender’s satisfaction. It’s hard to remember at times but these steps are for your protection and the protection of the money your lender is giving you.

Some of the critical steps include obtaining an inspection, having the home appraised and conducting a property title search. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into a property title search, what it is and why you do it.

When you are buying a home from a seller it is safe to assume the seller is entitled to sell the home in question but this assumption is going to break your heart if you are not careful. Not only might the seller in question not have legal grounds to sell the house, but somebody else may have a claim or a lien on the property and they can show up anytime during the selling period. The property title search is going to examine public records on the property to confirm that the property’s rightful legal owner is the one selling it, the title search will also reveal if there are any claims or liens on the property that might affect your purchase.

So like any good real estate title search agency, such as Capitol Title, would tell you: property title searches are important.

Why do I need a title search?

Well first things first, you need to know who owns the property that you want to buy. You need to make sure that the person selling the property is the person that has the legal right to do so, and if they are not then you need to reach out to the legal owner of the property about your purchase interest. Not only does the title search show you who legally owns the property and can legally sell the property, but it also brings up the matters of claims and liens against the property’s titles which the owner may not know about. It will also show you any debts against the property such as unpaid property taxes, homeowners association fees and bills for home improvements that might affect you financially if you purchase the property while those debts are not dealt with.

Lenders require both title searches and title insurance as part of the mortgage underwriting process, because the title search might miss something. Title search speeds vary dramatically based on the complexity of the documents surrounding the property in question, and a title search is going to involve obtaining records from multiple sources which might delay the process of an office being very slow to respond. Once those documents are in the hands of a title company examiner might need a few hours or it may take a few weeks to pour over the document.