If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, you’ll likely hear the term “title search” at some point during the settlement procedure. A title search is an investigation into the history of a property. It’s conducted by the title agency handling the real estate closing, to reveal any and all concerns, defects or other issues regarding title to the property in question.
What Are Title Defects?
Title defects are clouds or problems surrounding ownership of the property. Ownership must be transferred from one party to the next in a proper, thorough and legal fashion. When this fails to occur, problems arise – problems that could be costly unless Owner’s Title Insurance coverage is in place.
The Four Most Common Problems Identified During Title Search
We’ve been running title searches for over 12 years. And while there are a number of title defects that can arise (see “23 Reasons You Need Owner’s Title Insurance” on our Title Insurance page for more), there are a handful that seem to cause issues more so than others.
- Judgments against prior owners is one of most common categories of title defects we see. Judgment liens and bankruptcies affiliated with the property and unresolved by previous owners can stall closing procedures until legally released.
- Unreleased deeds of trust are extremely common title problems. An unreleased deed of trust is one that’s still tied to the property, and not yet recorded by the Land Records Department. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to resolve this type of defect.
- Incorrect filing of heirs and/or wills that aren’t probated are other title defects that often arise. These types of clouds take a bit longer to resolve, and may involve time in court.
- Clerical errors happen (we’re all human). A common example of this type of title defect involves legal description of the property (erroneous or omitted information). Depending on the nature and extent of the error, it can take anywhere from days to months to correct these types of issues.
Certain title defects may be common, but having an Owner’s Title Insurance policy is the best possible way to protect your home and financial investment. For more on title defects or title insurance questions, contact us today!