You’ve been through the long process of finding a home, entering a bid on the property, then securing a contract for purchase.
Now it’s down to the last leg, closing on your new home.
An essential part of obtaining homeownership, it’s important to understand why a title search is important to you, the new homeowner.
What Does a Title Search Reveal?
- Unpaid mortgages or other loans
- Unpaid taxes
- Flaws in the property deeds
- Judgments against the property
- Liens from unpaid homeowner association fees
These are just five big protection benefits but there are many more. Depending on the age of the house, the title researcher could go back several years or to the original land patent granted by the government!
That’s how extensive a title search is on your property. After all, a title is a document that declares your right to own and use the property. That’s why you want to make sure that the title is clear.
What A Title Search Doesn’t Cover
- A single woman sold a home but didn’t realize her ex-husband still co-owned the property.
- Seller may have inherited the property under the terms of an out-of-date will. A more recent will leaves the property to someone else.
- A forged signature on a deed
- An unknown heir of a former owner who now claims ownership of the property
These are just a few of the very real and common problems that aren’t covered in a title search---because they can’t!
However, to be clear, a thorough title search combined with homeowner’s title insurance is your best protection for avoiding a title claim and loss.
Two Types of Title Insurance
Lender’s title insurance protects only the lender and does not protect you, the homeowner.
While a title search is required to close on your home, homeowner’s title insurance is not. That’s why a title search is important. It protects you against what is legally known about the property’s past.
However, a title search cannot protect you against the unknown, or fraudulent, actions of others.
To fully protect yourself, a thorough title search plus purchasing homeowner’s title insurance can save you possible legal woes in the future. This one-time purchase offers you peace of mind for as long as you own the home.
Lilly Title & Settlement is a woman-owned title and settlement company in Staunton, VA. Learn more about us here.