Companies offering professional title services perform a wide range of tasks. However, one of the primary tasks performed by most of them is the title search. It is considered mandatory by real estate buyers before they purchase a property and is also demanded by a host of other legal and financial services.
The title search is a comprehensive assessment of all the records pertaining to 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. This indicates that there are no other charges such as mortgages or liens applicable on the property.
A typical title search usually consists of a meticulous verification of records such as the mortgage documents, court records, various types of deeds, tax liens and name indexes. In addition, there could be a host of other documents involving the property that are assessed thoroughly. This is to validate the owner’s entitlement to finance or sell it by probing for defects or claims on the estate. The title search is considered a mandatory practice and is a critical aspect of the title commitment process that vigorously examines a property’s associated risk.
Hiring a professional agency is usually the option to imitate the title search. There are a considerable number of mortgage services who offer services for both insured and uninsured products for property searches as well as owner & encumbrance reports apart from other property reports.
Who needs the title search reports and why?
Individual looking to buy a long existing property would be interested in conducting a title search, as the reports are required by many professionals part of the buying process. They could include underwriters, title agents, attorneys, lending institutions, asset management firms and a host of federal and state agencies.
A comprehensive report on title search is essentially required for a number of financial transactions. These transactions usually include but are not limited to mortgage loans, home improvement loans, preparation of a final commitment/ title policy, closing home equity loans, and for checking various other details.
What does a title search reveal?
There are a number of details that can be obtained by a title search. Some of the regular ones are listed below:
- The full legal name(s) of the current owner(s) and other vesting info
- How the title is currently held, i.e. as Joint tenants, Tenants in common, etc.
- The comprehensive Legal description of the property
- Property’s Identification Number(s) (PIN or PID)
- Current legal status of the property (whether it’s registered, absolute title or LTCQ (land titles conversion qualified))
- If the property is a private easement then its qualification under the Planning acts
- Housing liens on the property if any, and if so, their details
- Types of arrears if any, such as House Tax, Environmental liens, etc.
- Property conveyance from the prior owner to the current owner
- Open mortgages
- Judgments & Liens
- Tax information and status
- Legal description
Why you need a specialized title service provider?
As documents and records on property conveyances are part of public records, the title search can be done by anyone, albeit having the right expertise. It’s because the information on the documents is not always streamlined and can consist a number of descriptions of various legal events in an intricate language apart from having a huge amount of data. Hence, organizations having the access to the resources and the proficiency needed to find and examine the right records can do a better job. As a result, they can provide a more qualified report following the search. Some of them include:
- Legal and Vesting Report: It includes information on the last deed along with the specific location and address of the property. Also, includes the tax status and other vesting information.
- Report on Mortgages and Deeds: It’s a detailed report on the assessed value of the property and open mortgages, apart from the various deeds pertaining to it.
- Current Owner Search: This search covers the present vesting deed, which is the most recent one, along with all other deeds that are at least 2 years old. This is an extensive search that includes a detailed analysis of the following:
- The official copy of the most current deed held by the current owner. The document can be procured from the county office and proves the current ownership of the real estate.
- Federal, State, and Municipal Tax Lien Search
- Foreclosure status search
- List of all the settled and pending judgments
- List of past and current mortgages
- Two Owner Search Report: It includes the findings of the title search on the last two owners of the property. In addition, it can also include the county assessment and active liens on the property, apart from the legal descriptions and judgments involving it.
- Date down endorsement: It is a report of all postings during the period between the date of the last search and the latest effective date.
- Full Search: As the name suggests, it’s an exhaustive search conducted on the current and prior owners of the property. It also provides a detailed report on the easement restrictions, covenants, active liens, past judgments, requirements and exceptions along with all other types of information that pertain to the legal or extralegal transactions related to a property.
Thus, a professional title services company plays an important role in performing an accurate title search, which is one of the most important initiatives before a legal contract is carried out between various parties with vested interest in a property. It is also deemed necessary during the escrow phase of a closing.