Before we can get into title searches, we need to cover the property title itself. A property title refers to one’s legal right to own a home. This means the title holder has the legal rights to access the home and the land it sits on.
And although title transfers may seem simple, they can actually become quite complicated if there are unresolved liens or claims on the property. This makes title searches important for both buyers and sellers.
What does a title search entail?
In most cases, the title search is conducted after the seller accepts the buyers purchase offer during escrow. The title search is usually conducted by a title company and is often ordered by the lender when a preliminary report is requested from a title company. They will begin searching various sources such as county records, tax liens, deeds, divorce cases, and bankruptcy court records.
This information will be collected and presented in the form of an Ownership & Encumbrance report. This will rule whether the seller actually represents the property or not. A clean title search indicates that there are no issues that could affect the transfer of ownership.
Why is a title search important?
If you’re looking to sell your home, you’re going to want to have a “marketable title.” This means the title does not have any defects such as another person claiming title ownership, or a claim that the seller never even owned it to begin with.
As a buyer, the title search helps ensure that there are no outstanding title issues before closing. If issues are not found and handled before closing, the buyer could face future difficulties.
Who pays for a title search?
The title search is often paid by the borrower and is usually wrapped into the lender’s closings costs. Although there are cases where the seller will pay for the title search. Your real estate agent will be able to advise who should make the payment. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay between $75 and $100 for a title search.