Having decided to purchase a home, there's one important detail remaining before the transaction can close. A title search must be conducted to determine if the person who is selling the property really has the right to sell it and that you as the buyer are getting all the rights to the property (title) that you are paying for.
The process is generally performed by the title company and culminates with the issuance of a title policy that insures the existence of rights to the property and requires that the title insurance company defend the title and pay losses within the coverage of the policy should some problem subsequently develop.
The components of a title search include the following:
Chain of title:
This is simply a history of the ownership of a particular piece of property, telling who bought it and sold it, and when.
This is a search to determine the present status of general real estate taxes against the property. The tax search will reveal if taxes are current or whether any taxes are past due and unpaid from previous years. In addition, the tax search will indicate the existence of any special assessments against the land and, if so, whether or not these assessments are current or past due.
Report on Possession:
The title company sends inspectors to look at the property to verify the lot size, check the location of improvements, look for evidence of easements that are not shown of record, and check on who is living there.
Judgment and Name Search:
One of the most important parts of the title search is to determine if there are any unsatisfied judgments against the seller or previous owner which were in existence while they owned the title. A judgment is a general lien against the debtor's real estate and constitutes security for any money owned under the judgment and the property could be ordered sold to satisfy a judgment.