For buyers and sellers alike, a property title search is vital to the real estate transaction. However, the state of Tennessee doesn’t mandate all sales participate in a title search. It’s not required by law. Purchase a home in Middle Tennessee and you could side-step this part of the close. But is it the best decision?
What is a Title Search on a Property?
At the basic level, the title search will confirm the property is, in fact, available for sale. Sellers what to ensure they have a marketable property without defects that could result in a lawsuit. Buyers want a title free and clear of liens, loans, and other judgments that might challenge ownership or become a financial burden.
In-depth analysis of public records can reveal a lot of information about the property, and it’s previous/current ownership. The quality of the search determines the vitality of the deal. That’s why anyone involved in a real estate transaction relies on a reputable title company to conduct research. The search is administered by a reputable title company that confirms any, and all information about the property is accurate and up-to-date.
10 Issues a Title Search Could Reveal
In an ideal situation, the title search wouldn’t reveal anything. Errors can appear when you start going back far enough. There are ten most common issues that can be identified in a thorough title search.
- Unknown Liens – any debt from a previous owner transfers with the property. Distinguishing this information could save you a lot of money.
- Illegal Deeds – Someone who falsified information on a deed (mortgage) could challenge your right to ownership. For example, if a previous owner had said they were single when, in fact, they were married could mean the spouse has a claim.
- A Will – A property can be left to other parties if the owner recognizes them in their will. A title search will confirm that no such document exists that could challenge your rights.
- Heirs – In the event a property owner dies, and no will is left, the land and home are bequeathed to their heirs. It’s not uncommon for some to go missing, or be a challenge to find. But if they materialize, they could have legal rights to ownership.
- Human Error – Errors happen all the time. It’s what makes us human. Clerical and filing mistakes could financially impact the sale.
- Forgeries – Untruthful information can be filed in the paperwork with the county clerk fabricating the rightful owner. If a counterfeit is named, your ownership could be at risk.
- Encumbrances – A third-party could have a claim on some or all of the estate. Encumbrances could involve restrictions or covenants that stifle ownership.
- Disputes – Most disputes revolve around property boundaries. A title search reveals past surveys to confirm the portion of the property in question is accurate during the sale.
- Easements – Governments agencies or other third-parties could have access to the land. Finding out what easements are attached confirms you can use the area as you like.
- Impersonation of the owner – Similar names make it easy to impersonate others. Imitation could put you at risk.
Processing the Title Search
TItle examination goes back around 30-years. That’s 30 years of public records to sift through. It would take on average up to a week to complete. It’s useful information to have as most mortgage lenders won’t let you complete the sale without the results of the title search.
Something some buyers aren’t aware of is a process called the “curing” period. Finding problems on a title isn’t uncommon. However, a proper title officer will remedy what issues they can. An example could be procuring information about payment when a lien is exposed on a public record. Often, the officer can complete this information to clear the title on behalf of the owner.
Choosing a Title Company
The right title company will assist you throughout the process to ensure the estate in question has an insurable title. After the reports are processed and reviewed together, you have the option to purchase title insurance.
Title insurance is a peace of mind. It provides financial backing to rectify problems that don’t require you to dip into your pockets. Choose the right one will have a comprehensive list of real estate services that include a search, insurance, and closing assistance.
Hydepark Title & Escrow honorably serves buyers and sellers in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne, and the surrounding areas with dependable real estate services. Clients have trusted us to handle their transaction based on our integrity and strength of our services. You can learn more about how we serve Middle Tennessee with title services that support a healthy close.