You need to know the condition of the property before you purchase a house. Are there owners out there who are still entitled to the property? Does it carry any liens on the property? These variables could impact your ability to own the property and even give you down the road a legal nightmare.
A property title search is vital if you buy a home with cash or you need financing. If the place turns out to have title problems, learning how to perform a free title search will help you save time.
Doing The Title Search On Your Own
When you have the money and the time, you can do a title search entirely on your own. Usually, to obtain the correct paperwork, it includes spending a few hours at the local courthouse. For each owner in the background of the home, you have to locate the transfer of ownership papers. There could be an owner out there who could claim rights to the property down the road if you find that there are missing details.
Here is how you do the title search:
- Visit the courthouse in the property’s jurisdiction
- Search for public information or records about the home
- Take note of each owner and ensure that the owner transferred the property correctly
- Take notice of any property liens and look for proper satisfaction with each public record lien.
Many counties do have this data online, but it’s not always complete. You are better off going in person to the courthouse and seeing the records for yourself.
Make sure you take good notes about ownership when you review the papers. Can you see a transfer from Mary Garcia to Mary Diaz, but then someone other than Mary Diaz is involved in the next record that you see? This may mean that to move ownership from Mary Diaz to the next owner, the proper paperwork was not filed. During an inheritance, this sometimes arises when the new owners do not have the correct paperwork filed.
You will want to move on to another property if you find a difference or any ties.
Ordering A Title Abstract
One thing to make a title search easy is to order a title abstract from a local title company if you do not have the time to sort through many papers. This could cost you a small amount of money, but it will do some legwork to make searching stress-free.
The abstract of the title will show you the chain of ownership as well as any existing property deeds. You will then evaluate the ownership chain to ensure that anyone has legally passed the property. You’ll need to get to the bottom of the problem if you find that a transfer was not registered.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of forgetting (as sometimes happens with inherited properties) to have the records registered. In other instances, there is a real problem that will prohibit you from purchasing the land. If you have the paperwork to explain the legal transfer and have the documentation registered, you can ask the seller or move on and not take a chance on the house.
Also, the title abstract will let you see any liens on the house or property. Chances are you will see a registered mortgage for the current owner, which they will pay off with the selling proceeds. If you see any other ties, you will want to ask about them before purchasing the land.
Doing your own search for the title certainly has its drawbacks, but it can save you cash. It also costs a lot for a professional title check. Only make sure you do your due diligence if you think you can do it on your own. Once you know that the title is clear, you can buy the owner’s title insurance to protect your interest in the land. The insurance will help you cover the legal expenses and get to the bottom of the problem if anything is going to come down the lane.
Trusted Real Estate Agents
Any complications come with choosing the right agent to assist you in buying your new home. If you have little real estate market knowledge, it might seem as if everyone is a shark for their own selfish benefit. Working with a calm and trusted real estate agent like Metro Realty Search means you can chat about your home and future plans with an outsider who is already on your team.
Not only that: the agent can walk you through all the complicated paperwork and ensure you are taken care of by the legalities of the transaction. Give your trust to Metro Realty Search, and you will enjoy searching for your new home in their lush, glam, and gold residences.
Louie is the father behind the travel blog Browseeverywhere.com. He has a background in photography, E-commerce, and writing product reviews online at ConsumerReviews24. Traveling full time with his family was his ultimate past-time. If he’s not typing at his laptop, you can probably find him watching movies.