A title search is an in-depth examination of public records to determine ownership of real property and ownership of rights to the property. This can be difficult based on how those records may be filed with the county. The title searcher will uncover any liens, judgments, mortgages, easements, and tax issues that could taint the real property, and create issues for the buyer for years into the future.
We focus on Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland searches in Indiana but we are able to search elsewhere as needed.
Chain of title: The title searcher will work backwards from the current owner to develop a chain of title over a specific number of years to determine anyone who may have had an interest in the real property. This will uncover any leases recorded or land contracts that have not been released.
Taxes: The title searcher will check the property tax records with the county to see if they are current for the year or if there are any unpaid taxes and penalties. If taxes are left unpaid, a property could at some point be sold by the county at tax sale.
Easements/Rights: The title searcher will check the county records to see if there are any easements recorded within the chain of title. There can be many types of easements: electric, sewer, and water line easements are the most common examples, but there are others that have to be checked. Some properties have restrictions in prior deeds, informing future owners what they can do with the property, as well as what can be built on the property.
Liens against the property must be paid prior to the transfer of the property, as these liens would stay with the property regardless of who is the current owner, and could cause the property to be foreclosed and sold at auction:
- Mortgages: the title searcher will check to see if there are any open mortgages or lines of credit of record that have not been satisfied.
- Liens: the title searcher will check to see if there are any liens against the property, such as mechanic liens, federal tax liens, and state tax liens.
- Judgments: the title searcher will check to see if there are any civil judgments against any current or previous owners in the chain of title, as these monetary judgments would also attach to the real estate. Judgments could be from civil cases, divorces, or small claims.
After all of these public records have been checked, we will send you the results of our search. At that point, we can help to clear up any issues with the title to the property, and if getting lender’s and/or owner’s title insurance policies, give you a written commitment stating the conditions under which we will issue a policy.