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What is a Title Search

By Eddie Gallese

When it comes to buying a home there are a lot of steps involved. Most people are aware of what it means to apply for a mortgage, partner with an agent, and submit an offer. But a vital step in the process that many people do not know as much about is the title search. So what exactly is a title search and why are they so essential? A helpful way to understand a title search is to compare it to a home inspection. A home inspection reports on the status of the physical property. A title search, on the other hand, reports on the financial and legal status of the property.

The title search reveals if the seller actually has the legal capability to sell the home. There may be encumbrances or liens that call the sale into question. The seller may be behind on their mortgage payments, owe back taxes, or be in the midst of an unresolved legal dispute. Any of these issues could undermine the seller's capability to follow through with the transaction.

A title search does more than look at the seller, though. It also evaluates any laws that apply to the property. There may be town by-laws that supersede the state or county laws. These laws could include environmental restrictions or historic designations that could apply to the property. Title searches also reveal easements that apply to a property. Such laws would include local agreements that made between neighbors.

Though it may not be one of the better know steps of the homebuying process, a title search is nevertheless essential. Make sure you carefully review your title search before going through with the purchase.

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