A Title Search is a search of public records usually to verify ownership and uncover liens (debts) attached to real estate. Title searches are most often conducted by an experienced professional called an abstractor or title searcher.
The most common reason a title search is conducted is for the purpose of uncovering any unknown liabilities as a result of ownership unknowns and unresolved debts that have been linked to a certain property. The title search is often used by a title insurance company to insure against any losses incurred through property ownership as a result of any unknown debts, ownership misrepresentation, and other factors.
Other reasons why a title search might be conducted include a homeowner interested in seeing if there are any unknown debts attached to their home, an investor or buyer interested in uncovering what hidden liabilities they might incur when purchasing a property, or any other individual or entity interested in what information might be publicly filed on or against a property.
Common things revealed by a title search:
1. True owner on record
2. Value (most commonly money) offered for the property
3. Any open mortgages and assignments (whether or not the mortgage was re-sold to another lender)
4. Any open liens/judgments (most common are for unpaid taxes, foreclosure actions, unpaid repairs/construction)
5. Tax and assessment information (what taxes were paid and owed; the value of the property assessed for taxation purposes)
We can refer you to a reputable and customer friendly title insurance agency if you need title insurance!