Congratulations! You have found your next home and are ready to start the purchase process. We know there are many stages involved before the home is officially yours, but one of the most critical steps in the process is conducting a property title search.
Why is this step of the home buying process so important? Let’s take a closer look at what a property title search is and how it can protect the purchase of your new home:
What Is A Title Search?
A property title search is a comprehensive examination of local records, documents, and sources related to a specific property. The goal is to uncover all available information about the property. Why would you need this? A title search will tell you anyone who has a claim on the property — not just the current owner.
A property title outlines who legally owns the property, but it does not necessarily include a complete history of the property. The property title may be missing updated information or older information about liens, judgments, unpaid taxes, debts, and bankruptcy, to name a few. This is why you need to conduct a title search.
Without a proper title search, you may be investing in a home that potentially could become a financial nightmare. You may be responsible for old claims against the property’s title. Worse yet … after you buy it, someone else may show up at your doorstep and claim the property is theirs.
Housing debts and liens follow the property,
not the previous owners.
How Does A Title Search Work?
A property title search is done either by an attorney or a title company. They usually are called abstractors, and they work to pull all legal documents and relevant information they can find about the property.
The abstractor then creates what is called an abstract of the title. This abstract includes a recorded chronology of all the transactions, documents, and information related to the property.
We will look at these sources during a title search:
- Federal and state tax liens
- Bankruptcy records
- Financial judgments
- Child support cases
- Divorce cases
- County land records
- Debts (gambling or contractor)
It is imperative to know that your property has no financial claims or judgments on it before you take ownership. If not, you will be responsible for those claims.
An abstractor may also include information about:
- Property boundaries
- Deed restrictions
What Happens If There Are Problems With The Title Search?
If there are issues with the documents that are unearthed during the property title search, there are a few ways to take care of them.
The most common and easiest way of resolving the issue is for the current owner/seller pay whatever debt is owed. This will clear the title.
If the owner/seller does not have enough money to clear the debt, they can negotiate with the buyer. A buyer and seller can agree to split the amount needed to clear the title.
Or in the case of a competitive market with multiple offers, a potential buyer may be willing to pay to clear up the title search and then ask the seller for a discount.
When a property title search is conducted, there is a small chance that something is missed. This is why it is so important to get title insurance when buying a home. This protects the buyer by ensuring the title company will handle any issues that may arise.
Let True Concept Title Conduct Your Title Search
The title search is a key element in the home-buying process. Our national title experts will make you feel at ease through the entire process.
Are you ready to purchase a new home and need help with a professional title search? Call True Concept Title at (813) 263-7168 and let us handle the rest!