A title is the foundation of real estate ownership and establishes your legal right to own your home and use it as you see fit.
Before you finalize ownership of your home, go through closing procedures and take on ownership, a title agent will examine your title for any defects. This title search is important because it will reveal any clouds on the title that could potentially jeopardize your free and clear ownership.
A thorough title search will look for things like outstanding liens, unpaid taxes, easements, undisclosed claims from heirs, boundary disputes and encroachments, along with a long list of other potential threats to your clear title.
Once this title search is complete and the title is found to be clear, you can finalize the purchase of your home. You will still be required to have title insurance, which protects you and/or your lender from any issues with the title, as well as previous outstanding debts from past owners.
But the question always arises… Is there anything a title search cannot reveal?
The truth is that there can be hidden hazards that even the most thorough title search might miss. There are the common issues with titles that are relatively easier to find. These are issues like liens on the property, public records errors, unknown heirs, unknown easements and boundary disputes and encroachment, but there still may be issues that are so obscure or well-hidden that they get missed in a title search.
Some of these more difficult to spot issues could include…
Falsifying or altering writing with the intent to defraud is a serious crime called forgery. These instances are difficult to spot. They happen most often in divorce cases when one spouse forges another’s signature.
Undisclosed or unknown heirs
If an heir was not noted in a will and the title company was unable to disclose them in the search, this could bring about potential legal consequences.
Similar to forgery, fraudulence involves false statements, misrepresentation or deceitful conduct. This could be an alias or other form of deceit.
Mistakes in legal documentation
This is such a common issue but can be quite difficult to trace all the way back through a property’s history, especially if it has a long list of title owners. Any mistake, intentional or not could potentially cause issues with the title.
Title insurance to the rescue!
It is for all these instances and more that title insurance is required. Title insurance kicks in with cases like these. That’s precisely what it’s for.
Unfortunately, mistakes and outright deception are all too common in titles. That’s why you need the best title team and most thorough search when you get your title checked. If anything comes up in the title that was missed, make sure you have the best real estate legal team on your side.
Talk to us if you need your title professionally searched, or if you are looking for the highest level of protection in your title insurance.