What does the phrase “title search” mean to you? Aside from an activity at the local library, its purpose is critical to the successful sale of a home. A title search is performed by an attorney in order to guarantee that there are no unknown liens on or claims to a property.
Because title searches are often ordered only after a purchase contract is on the table, problems can suddenly turn up at the eleventh hour, causing delays in the closing. That’s why it may be advisable for the sellers to request a title search before even listing their property for sale.
What sort of problems might a title search unearth? There might be an”unreleased mortgage,” which happens when a previous refinance is paid off, but the lender fails to file a release on the old mortgage. Property taxes may appear to be unpaid until filing errors are discovered. A divorce or death in the family may not be properly reflected in the ownership structure. Sometimes property records are fraudulently used to commit identity theft.
This is not to say that these errors are common, but they are increasingly prevalent among properties that have changed hands several times over these last few years of frenzied real estate activity. Speak with an agent before listing your home to determine whether a title search is appropriate.
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