Homebuyers must always have an inspection performed before agreeing to buy a piece of real estate. However, you must also perform a title search to look for other, less obvious issues.
According to Realtor.com, title searches review deeds, land records, and other documents to identify possible problems that could stand in the way of a real estate transaction. They are crucial for protecting your best interests when buying a home, as explained here.
How are title searches performed?
Once the seller accepts your offer on a home, the title search can take place. The person searching will look through a variety of documents. Along with deeds and land records, they will also review bankruptcy records, tax liens, divorces records, along with many other pieces of information. Once the document search is complete, you will receive an Ownership and Encumbrance report. Either the title is “clean” or it has defects.
What benefits do they offer?
Title searches benefit both buyers and sellers. For homebuyers, they determine if the seller of the property actually has a legal claim to do so. They also prevent liens and judgments from becoming your responsibility, which is precisely what will happen if you purchase a home with preexisting issues. If you purchase a home with outstanding property taxes, it is your responsibility to pay them.
For sellers, title searches provide buyers an added layer of protection, which is likely to increase their confidence in a property.
Should you do your own title search?
While it is possible to search records on your own, it is much better to have a professional take on the task. Even if you are aware of all the necessary documents, you might not fully understand legal or tax information contained within. It is also possible that you will not have access to some documents, which is precisely where a professional can help.
Investing in real estate requires a significant amount of money, so you must rest assured that the property you buy is worth it. When combined with home inspection, title searches put you in a much better position to make an informed decision.