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Before you seal the deal on your dream home, don’t forget to do a title search. A title search is critical due diligence, as it determines if the person selling you the piece of property actually has the right (title) to sell it. Thus, it ensures that you, the buyer, will get full rights to the property that you are paying for. Read on to learn a bit more about what a title search entails.
Chain of Title
This part of the search digs into the history of the ownership of a piece of property. This information can be found in title plants privately owned by title companies or in public records, usually housed under the County Clerk or Recorder’s office.
Property Tax/Lien Search
The tax search is done to determine if there are any unpaid taxes on the property. It can also unearth any special assessments, or prior liens on the property. If the property in question has unpaid taxes, the property may be up for sale by the government in the case of nonpayment of those taxes.
Report on Possession – Supplement to the Title Search
The report on possession is done to supplement the basic title search. The inspector searches for evidence of easements that were not properly reflected in public records. If there are unforeseen outstanding rights on the property, this could jeopardize the status of the buyer’s title and the value of the property.
Judgment and Name(s) Search
A search must be done to ensure that there are no existing judgments against the current titleholder or previous owners. An outstanding judgment means that the property is being used as collateral for a debt of some sort. It is important to search for any variation of the spelling of the name, as it may be inconsistently recorded across various documents.
UCC searches and Municipal lien searches
UCC searches and Municipal lien searches are also involved in transactional work. UCCs are notated and provide during a title search. There is no closing without a municipal lien search for unrecorded liens – such as city, sewer, code enforcement, etc.
After the Searches, Commitment to Insure
Once all of the title searches have been done, the title company issues a commitment to insure the title. The buyer, seller, and mortgage lender can then move forward with the closing. It is important to note that the title insurance policy of the lender and that of the buyer are distinct and serve different purposes and interests.
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