Thursday, 10 April 2014 21:26

Inspect Title History Before The Final Sale

Buyers focus on the ad listing, home interior, home exterior, home amenities and the price. We learn to focus on other things like home inspections, the neighborhood, mortgage, closing costs/extra fees and home insurance. What's missing is checking the seller's title history. A real estate company is a good place to find title companies that will perform the check.

Also called a property title search, a title search goes into the property's background to investigate what happened to it financially since it existed. In this case, the "property" is the home. Some of the findings connect the seller to the home in an unpleasant light. Public records, wills, deeds and trusts are examined manually and/or electronically. The goal is to have a clean history so buyers can own the property on a clean slate. Otherwise, the seller/owner doesn't have the right to sell their home to you until those problems are fixed. There's a possibility that the home has the following on their record:

  • unpaid taxes
  • unpaid mortgage payments / foreclosure
  • reverse mortgage
  • more than one property owner
  • pending legal actions related to the seller and the home
  • judgment against the seller related to the home
  • easement to reach or build main power lines, pipelines or phone towers in or through your yard
  • unpaid home repair / remodeling / renovation / home addition costs
  • other liens against the home

Make sure the search is thorough; there's a chance something major is overlooked and it will be too late to undo the final sale. If you allow this to transfer to your title, you will face the problems the soon-to-be previous owner faced. The difference is the now-previous owner is in the clear. Depending on what's on there, the situation will be messy and not end well. You can avoid this by checking the title.

We can't stress enough how important it is to find a reputable realtor. A good realtor will check this for you. You should not have to tell them to do this; it's standard procedure. If you are buying a home without a realtor, perform a title search as soon as possible. There are great real estate (contact us) and title search companies out there to assist you.

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