Before you decide to purchase a property, you need to perform a title search. A title search determines from public records who owns the rights to the property. This article will tell you why you need to know this information and how to perform a search yourself.
A title search will tell you if there are any liens on a property. Liens are claims on proceeds from the sale to a property. If the current owner has a mortgage, the lender will have a lien on the property to ensure they are paid what they are owed. Other creditors may also have liens. If the current owner owes any back taxes, the government will have a lien on the property. A contractor who went unpaid for work performed on the property may have a lien as well. You will want to know if there are any red flags here by performing a title search. You do not want to be on the hook later for unpaid taxes or to a previous owner’s creditor.
The title search will also tell you if there are other owners or interested parties who may need to sign the deed. There may be an estranged relative who still owns 5% of the home and will need to approve of a sale. This information may not be known to the seller, so perform a title search.
Conducting a title search is as simple as contacting a few government agencies. Start with the local tax assessor’s office. Supply the physical address and they will provide you with the ownership history and the lot or parcel number. Take this information to the courthouse to locate all the titles and deeds associated with the property. Read these deeds thoroughly, starting with the most recent. Make sure the owner is who you think it is. Going back, make sure there are no discrepancies in the dimensions or boundaries of the property. If there is a problem, pay for copies of the original deeds to facilitate ironing the issues out with the seller.
You could perform a title search yourself, or you could hire a professional. Title insurance companies will not only perform the title search for you, but their insurance policies will also protect you in the case of future claims on the property. For title insurance and real estate services in Phoenixville, contact Members Settlement Services at 610-482-4086. Visit our webpage for more information about us and the services we provide.