Having a clear title is one of the most important steps when moving forward with a real estate transaction. You wouldn’t buy a brand new shirt if it was ripped or stained, would you? No, you are spending money on a new shirt and you expect that it is a new shirt without flaws or defects.
The same is true for your property purchase. When you are investing in a new home, you want the title to that property to be free and clear of any title defects. You don’t want to find yourself dealing with any unnecessary or costly legal issues down the road.
Just as you look over that new shirt for flaws before you buy it, a title search thoroughly looks over the title. It is a step that you never want to miss.
What is a Title?
In the real estate world, the word title gets tossed around a lot with the assumption that everyone knows what it means. Most people erroneously believe that the title is an actual document showing ownership of the home. However, that document is called a deed.
A title is not a document at all, but rather a declaration or legal right of ownership, in a sense. It’s the legal way of saying you are the owner of the property. If your name is on the deed, for instance, then you hold title to the property.
What a Title Search Entails – And What it’s Looking For
A title search involves thoroughly examining public records to make sure there are no liens, judgments, claims, or other issues that may end up with someone else stating they have rights to the property.
The title searcher is looking for things that could lead to issues — and may even put a kink in the sale. For example, a close examination is given to/for:
- Mortgages attached to the property
- Outcomes in divorce cases
- Property plats
- Deeds or chain-of-title
- Land records
- Recorded documents in public records
- Bankruptcy court cases
- Tax liens
- Probate case
- Construction/mechanics liens
All of this information is gathered and put into a report concerning the property, revealing whether the property is clear and good to move forward or if there are issues or problems that could halt the sale. The title search goes back to the beginning of the property’s existence.
Sometimes these things can be cured and the sale can move forward, such as paying off a judgment that is attached to the property. Other times, not so much. This is on a case-by-case basis and should be discussed with those involved in your real estate transaction.
Dangers of No Tile Search
A title search is always recommended. If you are financing the property, your lender will almost always require you to buy a title insurance policy. For that to be issued, though, a title search must be done.
If you are not financing the property and you choose not to move forward with a title search, you can put yourself – and your new property – at risk. Any title defects, such as the issues below, can lead to you having to be anything from minorly inconvenienced to complex and expensive legal battles.
- Tax liens
- Improper chain of title
- Encroachments and easements
- Probate/estate issues
- Fraudulent or forged documents or transfers
- Missing heirs or unknown owners
Your home is an investment and you want to make sure you are the rightful owner and that there is nothing to get in the way of that. And, that means having a proper title search done before you close.
Title Searches at Pippin
If you are buying a property, don’t overlook the importance of a title search – or allow it to hold up your closing process. At Pippin Title, our expert team of title searchers uses proprietary title search technology to give you the most accurate, thorough title search in the fastest way possible. You can even track your order every step along the way so that you know what to expect.
Contact Pippin today at (646) 666-5993.