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The Title Search Process Explained


The Title Search Process Explained

Whether you're a seasoned realtor or a prospective buyer or seller, understanding the ins and outs of title searches is essential in navigating the complexities of real estate transactions. Title searches help ensure that the property being bought or sold has a clear and marketable title, free from any encumbrances or defects. By uncovering any issues early in the process, title searches help protect both buyers and sellers from potential legal and financial risks. Not only are title searches highly recommended, but they are also often required. But what does the process actually look like? Let's delve into the steps involved in conducting a thorough title search.


Step 1: Starting the Process

Reach out to a reputable title agency to handle the title search on your behalf – preferably one that is attorney-owned. If you are working with a realtor, they may recommend one to you, but it is always your final decision.

 

 

Step 2: Comprehensive Search

Depending on if you are the seller or potential buyer of the property that you are conducting the title search on, the title agency may ask you to provide some information or documentation, such as the Agreement of Sale, deed, or the names of the owners. However, all you really need to start with is the address. From there, the title agency will conduct a thorough examination of public records related to the property. This includes reviewing deeds, mortgages, liens, judgments, tax records, and other documents that may affect the property's title.

 

Step 3: Document Review

The real estate attorneys at the title agency will carefully examine each document to identify any issues or discrepancies that could impact the property's title.

 

Step 4: Issue Notification and Resolution

During the title search process, several issues may arise that could affect the property's title:

 

  • Unpaid Liens: If the current or previous owner has outstanding debts, such as unpaid property taxes or contractor liens, these could result in a claim against the property's title.


  • Judgments: Legal judgments against the property owner, such as court-ordered payments or property disputes, could encumber the property's title.


  • Errors in Public Records: Mistakes in public records, such as incorrect property descriptions or misspelled names, may cloud the title and require resolution.


  • Undisclosed Heirs: Inherited property may have undisclosed heirs who could potentially claim ownership rights, leading to complications in the title transfer process.


  • Forgery or Fraud: Instances of forgery or fraud in previous property transactions could invalidate the title and require legal intervention to rectify.

 

The title agency will keep you informed of any significant findings. This is one of the reasons why having real estate attorneys involved in the process is so crucial – they are experienced in these matters, familiar with local laws, and equipped to take whatever steps necessary to clear the property’s title. If you are the seller, you need a clear title before moving forward with the selling process. Likewise, if you are a potential buyer, you need to ensure the title is clear before you move forward with your purchase. Once all issues are resolved, the title company issues a Clear Title certificate, indicating that the property’s title is free of any significant defects.

 

Cost of Title Searches

Title searches typically incur a fee. The exact fee depends on factors like the county, whether the property is commercial or residential, and how many parcels are involved. Additional fees may apply if particular issues are uncovered during the search that require resolution, but you will always be notified of any additional costs before proceeding.

 

If you use Clover Lane Settlement Services for your closing, the title search fee is included in the title search premium.

 

Next Steps

Once any and all title issues are addressed and resolved, the title company is there to help you proceed with a transaction, whether you are the buyer or the seller.

 

 

Navigating the intricacies of title searches and ensuring a smooth real estate transaction requires expertise and attention to detail. At Clover Lane Settlement Services, we understand the importance of a clear and marketable title in protecting your investment. Our team of experienced attorneys and real estate professionals are experienced in conducting thorough title searches, identifying potential issues, and providing expert guidance to address any concerns that may arise. Whether you're buying or selling property, you can trust us to safeguard your interests and facilitate a smooth, successful transaction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your title needs.

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