Title Searches On Your House in 2020
Before you buy a home or any property you should conduct a title search. The purpose of a title search is to discover if there are any liens on the title for the property. A lien on a title signifies that the lienholder can claim ownership of the property. You want to be sure that there are no liens on the title for the property you wish to buy, other than the seller.
Do you know how to do a title search? If not, follow these instructions to protect yourself from making what could possibly be a big mistake.
1. Check the records of the tax assessor.
The tax assessor’s records will give you some much needed information, such as any current or previous deeds for the property. These records are kept at the office of the tax assessor in the county or city the property is located in. You may be able to check these records online for many cities, but you should also be prepared to call them in order to request the records you need. This link will help you locate the necessary tax assessor’s office: https://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/Assessor-and-Property-Tax-Records.htm
2. Locate the deeds.
You can usually search online for deeds, but you may need to contact the deed recorder’s office to find out how to proceed with your search. The service may be free or you may be required to pay a fee to access this information. The first deed you want to find is the current deed, which should have the name of the person you are buying the property from. This deed will list the previous deed, which will list the previous deed, and so on and so forth. You will need to search deeds back as many years as the property has existed or at least 50-70 years.
3. Look for gaps in ownership.
Once you have collected all of the deeds you were able to find, go through them in order and make sure that each deed’s previous owner matches the previous deed and that there are no gaps or periods of time when ownership is unclear. Any breaks in the ownership chain pose a potential risk that the property may not be free and clear.
4. Check the tax history.
The tax assessor’s records that you located back in step 1 will also tell you some vital information about the tax history for the property. Outstanding taxes could mean there is a lien against the property. It could also give the state or county the ability to sell the property to recoup those back taxes, even if the current owner is not at fault.
5. Look for judgment liens.
A judgment lien can be placed on a property if the owner owes a debt of some kind. The property can be used as collateral if the person doesn’t settle their debts. Even if the current owner is not the one who accrued the debt, the judgment lien is against the property, not the owner, and that judgment will stand no matter who the owner is.
6. Get legal advice regarding liens.
If there are any liens or judgments on the property title, it would be best to seek legal advice before purchasing the property. There are ways to get liens removed, but it can be complicated. A lawyer can help you through the process to ensure you are buying a property with a clear and free title.
Hire a Title Search Company
Does that seem like a lot of work? If you’re not interested in doing the research yourself or you don’t have time, you can hire a title search company to do this for you. There are many benefits to hiring a professional. For one, you save a lot of time and effort. You also avoid making any mistakes or missing something that could become a problem. Title search companies have experience doing this type of research and are less likely to miss an important detail that could lead to an issue with your property title.
It may be worth the money to get a professional level of expertise in this situation, because a lot is at stake. If you purchase a property and someone else comes forward claiming ownership, you could find yourself in a very expensive situation. You could even lose your property.
Purchase Title Insurance
If there is a claim against your ownership of your property, fighting that claim can be very expensive. Title insurance is designed to protect you financially if this happens to occur. Most lenders require you to purchase title insurance before they will fund your mortgage. But even if you are purchasing the property outright without a loan, it is in your best interest to purchase title insurance. Even if you did the research yourself or you hired an experienced title search company, there’s always a chance that something could have been missed. Don’t take your chances, protect yourself.
Purchase Title Insurance From American Guardian Title
If you are purchasing a home or property, you will need to purchase title insurance. Your lender will likely have a title insurance company they recommend, but you have the option to choose your own company. Not all title insurance policies are the same. Some cover different amounts and have different terms and conditions.
American Guardian Title provides coverage for court costs and related fees as well as a reimbursement of your losses up to the amount of the policy. If there is a claim against your title, you will be glad you purchased insurance.
Call (813) 331-3010 or (833) 331-8476 today or contact us to get a quote. Protect yourself and your property in case of a contested title.