How & Why to do a Title Search on a Property

How to do a title search online

I’ve seen and experienced first hand some absolute nightmares which come about as a result of a buyer failing to conduct due diligence on a property. It isn’t that a seller is necessarily unscrupulous. I’ve heard stories of inherited property where there was no legal deed of ownership—because there was none even filed to begin with. I’ve seen property sold directly by an owner where both the seller and the buyer were entirely unaware multiple liens had been placed on it.

Think about those ramifications. You’re purchasing a property for hundred of thousands of dollars. And you don’t have legal ownership simply because of a defective title.

Luckily, conducting a title search online is a relatively easy process which can ultimately save you both time, frustration and anxiety. What’s more? What you see documented online legally presents the owner to a property.

How To Conduct An Online Title Search

The first step you’ll need to conduct your online title search is to gather as much information as you can about the property. This includes the address, the current owner and any relevant parcel and lot number information. From there, you’ll want to check with both your county recorder and assessor for the property deed itself. While most county offices in Utah have already digitized their record of deeds, title checks typically come at a minimal cost—usually in the range of $65 – $75.

Your title check should show a clear chain of ownership for the property. Sometimes, this can go back decades; and while this can be a time consuming process to review, it’s also a necessary one. If there’s any sort of gap where ownership is unclear (even if it was over twenty years ago) the validity of the claim can be questioned by both state agencies and the current mortgage lender. And if you see any existing mortgage or judgement lien against a home, that should be a huge red flag for you as a buyer.

When To Use A Title Company

In real estate, accuracy is just as critical as your knowledge of the market. And while performing a title search can seem like a relatively painless process, the potential for error can sometimes be fairly high—particularly if property has been conveyed through multiple transactions over the years. Errors and defects in a title are hardly unique. And while they don’t necessarily impede a sale, the process can be expedited by purchasing title insurance.

Unfortunately, some of the more common liens can sometimes get overlooked even by the most scrutinous eyes. And liens aren’t always filed universally. They can be filed on the address, the lot number or the owner’s name. Not only is it just liens you have to worry about. There’s the accuracy of street, sewer and energy assessments, property taxes, unpaid mortgages, zoning restrictions and a host of other defects that can hinder the purchasing process.

Purchasing title insurance can be an effective form of protection for you if there’s something that seems almost too good to be true about the property. That doesn’t always mean that dream offers aren’t available. But as with any other form of transaction, the old dictum of caveat emptor still holds true, especially in real estate.

Title insurance may give you a sense of security, but it’s not cheap. It’s typically calculated on the value of a home; and the greater the risk, the higher your cost will be. And with the average cost of title insurance estimated at well over $1,000, you may find the risks aren’t always worth it.

The good news is that most mortgage lenders already include title insurance as part of the closing costs. The bad news is that most buyers don’t even take into account just how high those closing costs might be when purchasing a home. That property you purchased for only $150,000 might turn out to be closer to $200,000 before the ink is even dry. When we buy property at Gary Buys Houses, we always ensure the cost of title insurance is included in the purchase. Not only that, but we’ll work with you to pay off any outstanding liens and can close in as little as 4-10 business day. We’ll even cover additional expenses such as appraisal and inspections to make certain you get the most value when selling your home.

We can never know exactly what we’re going to get in any transaction. But every step we take to ensure our security leads to a much firmer peace of mind. And in the end, isn’t that what most of us wanted when we bought a home in the first place?

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