Title Guarantee Weekly Educational Web Series: Importance of Property Title Search Documents

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


A title search, otherwise known as a property title search is the procedure of retrieving certain documents evidencing events in the history of a piece of property. These documents are used to determine the relevant interests and specific regulations involving that property.

In the case of a potential purchase, a title search is performed primarily to answer three specific questions involving that specific property that is on the market:

Does the seller have a sellable and legitimate interest in the property?

What kinds of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land in this specific county (i.e. these would include easements, covenants and other services)?

Are there any liens against the property, which need to be paid off at closing (i.e. mortgages, open taxes, mechanic liens, and other assessments against that property)?

A title search is also performed when an owner wishes to mortgage his property and the bank requires the owner to insure the transaction, which is very common.

Anyone can do a title search. Documents concerning the conveyances of land are public record. These documents are maintained in hard copy paper format or scanned into image files. The information within the documents are typically not available as data format, as the records are descriptions of legal events which contain terms, conditions, and language in excess of specific data.

In the United States, the buyer of a property will usually purchase a title insurance policy, specifically an owner’s title insurance policy, which protects the buyer from any title problems that may arise after sale, such as a lien or liens that were missed. The title insurance company issues a report and an insurance policy in support of its findings. However, title searches are most often carried out before contracting is completed between parties, though sometimes during the escrow phase of a closing.