A property title search is the process of gathering documents that show who has the legal right to own the property in question and, through that ownership, to sell it. While it may seem simple and obvious that the home seller is the owner, there may be hidden claims or liens on the property by other parties that the seller and buyer may be completely unaware of. To avoid any last minute surprises and guarantee that the buyer becomes the sole owner of the property, a property title search is critical to ensuring any property transaction goes smoothly for all parties. Scott Title Services in Red Bank, NJ has been offering the highest quality in property title search services for over two decades to clients throughout New Jersey.
What Happens During a Property Title Search?
A property title search usually occurs once an offer to buy a piece of real estate has been accepted. The title company goes through a process of rigorously examining multiple sources to determine if the property is free of liens, pending lawsuits, unpaid taxes, leases, easements, mortgages and other outstanding issues or restrictions that could impact the transfer of ownership. This includes looking at deeds, divorce cases, county land records, bankruptcy records and other financial judgments potentially attached to the property. A clear property title search means the buyer and lender agree there are no outstanding issues that could crop up after ownership has been transferred.
This process may also include a property survey to ascertain the dimensions of the plot of land the property is located on and to ensure that the property is actually located within those boundaries. A title search is also required in the event that a home or business owner wants to mortgage their property and the bank wants to ensure the transaction.
Why is a Property Title Search Important?
A property title search performed by an experienced title company during the home buying process has many benefits. Pinpointing issues in the early stages, such as property liens, will cut down on delays in the process and can even save you money.
- If a lien is discovered on a property you are interested in, settling it early can help you to avoid complications that could have turned into large issues late in the game. For example, property liens that aren’t dealt with can make getting a mortgage loan from a financial institution much more difficult.
- If a property lien for unpaid taxes is on the books and the sale of the home goes through, local government agencies could attempt foreclosure on the home. Taxes are attached to a home, not a person, so the current owner could be liable for those funds. Other property liens can be filed for various reasons including for work on renovations that were unpaid, child support payments, and even credit card debt.
- Without a property title search, many other issues could sneak up on you when you finally decide to close on your new home, including undisclosed debt or encroachment. Working with a title company will help you avoid these last minute issues.