What is a Title Search and Do I Really Need It?
The process is complicated, technical, and oh, so legally intensive.
That's why before buying a home, you need to have a title search performed.
What's a title search? Read on to learn more and to discover 10 reasons why a title search is critical.
That means it's had multiple owners, all with their own baggage, and all with their own stories to tell.
So while you see many possibilities for your new home, it's best to keep in mine that your home has a history!
That's why a title search is so important.
What is a Title Search?
There's only one catch. A title searcher can only find problems with a title if it's listed in the chain of ownership. What happens if a previous owner did something illegal or there were other legal problems not recorded? Are you protected?
That's why title insurance is so important. It protects you from what isn't recorded. Here's a list of legal possibilities that can affect your ownership of your home.
1. Errors in Public Record--A clerical or filing error can affect your survey or the deed to your property, causing you financial strain in getting them resolved.
2. Illegal Deeds--The chain of title can appear sound, but it is possible that a prior deed was made by someone who was reported to be single but was actually married. Or, the prior deed could have been made by a person of unsound mind, a minor, or an undocumented immigrant. Any of these scenarios can affect the enforceability of prior deeds as well as affecting prior ownership and possibly current ownership.
3. Unknown Liens--Banks and other financing companies can place liens on a property if the owner does not pay his or her bills. So even though you did not incur those debts. These liens can even be placed on the property after you've closed on the sale. Then the debt becomes yours. This scenario is particularly true of distressed properties.
4. Forgeries--Unfortunately, not everyone is honest. Forged or fabricated documents can affect property ownership if they are filed within the public record. This obscures the rightful ownership of the property. Once the ruse is known, it could affect your right to own the home you just purchased
7. Undiscovered Encumbrances--You may not know at the time of purchase but a third party hold claim to part or all of your property. This could be due to a former mortgage or lien, non-financial claims, or other covenants or restrictions.
8. False Impersonation of a Previous Owner--Similar or common names can make it possible to impersonate a property owner. Purchasing a home that was once sold by a false owner can put you at risk of losing the legal to your property!
9. Boundary/Survey Disputes--While you may have seen surveys of the property prior to purchasing it, it's entirely possible that there are other existing surveys that show different boundaries. Someone else, such as a neighbor or other party, could claim ownership of that portion of your property.
10. Undiscovered Will--A property without a will can cause significant problems. When an owner dies and there is no will, the State can sell the assets, including the home. When you purchase that home, you automatically assume your rights as its owner. However, years later, a deceased owner's will can come to light, jeopardizing your legal right to own the property.
What Does A Title Company Do?
Buying title insurance is a smart investment because it protects you and your family from unforeseen problems.
The job of a title insurance company is to make sure that the property you're buying is legitimate and that there are no issues with that property.
If a claim arises against the title of the home, the title company protects the home owner against lawsuits or other claims against the property.
Protect your investment and enjoy your home for years to come!
Lilly Title & Settlement is a full-service title and closing company serving Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. Learn more about us here.