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What is a title search?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Real Estate Contract Disputes

The real estate market right now is volatile. It seems that rates and prices are constantly changing, and the market in Tampa, Florida, is no different. And, if you are in the market, your realtor has likely mentioned title and title searches, but you may not know what either means.

After all, you just want to close the deal and move on with your life, right?

Wrong. Title searches and title issues are crucial.

Title searches

The term “title search” refers to the process of reviewing public property records to determine legal ownership through the examination of liens, encumbrances and any defects in transfers that may affect the line of ownership. This is done by the title company or a title attorney.

What is it for?

It verifies that the person selling the property has the right to sell it as it verifies that they actually own the property they are selling. It also verifies that there are no hidden claims against the property and that the title is clear.

In other words, a clear title ensures that you have full ownership of the property, and no other person or entity can claim any right or interest in it, like an ownership interest or mortgage.

What kind of issues can be revealed?

Title searches can review many common title issues. These include unpaid tax issues, like unpaid taxes, fees and assessments. It could also reveal outstanding mortgages, liens or judgments. Fraud or forgery could be found, as could missing heirs, co-owners or spouses. These all could lead to you losing the property and any funds you spent on purchasing the property.

A title search could find unknown easements, covenants, restrictions, encroachments, boundary disputes, errors or omissions in the deed or in one of the deed documents or some other document than affects title. Such documents could destroy your ability to use the land. For example, a prior owner could have sold surface drilling rights in the area where you plan on building a home.

The takeaway

The one takeaway here is that title issues are serious, and a title search can be vital to ensuring that your title is clear. You want to make sure that what you are buying is actually what you are buying. And, that who you are buying from has the ability to sell that property.