The legitimacy of a real estate is evaluated by documentary evidence. However, it’s a common practice to procure and analyze these credentials before a property is sold or mortgaged. The process is commonly known as the ‘Title Search’ and the specialists who perform this task are known as ‘Title Examiner’ or ‘Title Searcher’.
The title search is a comprehensive assessment of all the records about a particular estate or property. The process is about making sure whether the property indeed belongs to the seller, and there are no other encumbrances. Moreover, it also indicates that there are no additional charges such as liens and unpaid taxes applicable to the property.
What does Title Examiner do?
The primary task of a Title examiner or searcher is to evaluate the history of a property’s ownership and prepare a comprehensive Title Report. This has to be done through systematic analysis of public records and other related documents. If an individual is seeking a mortgage loan to purchase a property, the mortgage lender would look for a qualified third party to perform the title search.
A typical search report will find and disclose the legal restrictions on the use of the property as well as the rights gained by third parties on it as a result of outstanding monetary obligations or liens against the property. Various issues can arise following the sale of a property, which can lead to unaccredited real estate titles, and some of them are as following:
- Fraudulent people create forged documents by impersonating the signatures or trademarks of the actual owners of the property. These types of documents can be used to create closures or releases of fraudulent mortgages loans and can result in an illegal transfer of title to the new owners.
- Execution of instruments under fabricated or expired power of attorney is another cause of illegitimate claims.
- Deeds executed by separated joint owners who haven’t been legally divorced, or property inherited by illegitimate heirs can lead to felonious possession of the property.
- Other errors include omissions or mistakes in transcribing similar names, inaccurate indexing, and non-availability of original instruments.
In addition, liens for unpaid estate such as income or gift taxes along with undisclosed and erroneous interpretations of wills and invalid tax titles subject to irregular proceedings are some of the other errors that are documented in a title search report.
The Title Examiners also have to search, scrutinize and compile the lists of contracts and other instruments related to property titles. For this, they have to go about searching public and private records for at the county offices, law firms, or title insurance companies. The following is a list of common responsibilities of a Title Examiner:
- Procure the descriptions of properties as well as the names of parties involved
- Analyze search requests to determine the type of title evidence required
- Create a list of legal instruments pertaining to a property
- Scrutinize the documentation related to the title that includes liens, mortgages, judgments, plat books, legal agreements easements, maps, contracts, etc.
- Verify the factors such as the legal descriptions, ownership, or restrictions related to the property
- Prepare and issue title insurance policies and title commitments based on information compiled from title searches.
- Summarize recorded documents that can affect the property’s title such as trust deeds, vesting contracts, etc.
Reviewing the title and extracting a detail property report is one of the critical steps before investing in a real estate property. Thus, a Title Examiner or Searchers plays a crucial role in providing a comprehensive title report that is inevitably required by legal, finance and mortgage firms for title clearance.