A title search is a means of determining that the person who is selling the property really has the right to sell it, and that the buyer is getting all the rights to the property (title) that he or she is paying for.

The purpose of the title search is:

  • To verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership.
  • To discover any claims, errors, assessments, debts or other restrictions on the property.

According to the American Land Title Association, title companies find and fix problems with the title in 25% of transactions-usually without the the borrower or lender even knowing it! In addition, title companies pay millions of dollars each year in claims. Title insurance provides significant value to lenders and homeowners.

Before closing, Legal Elite Title searches the public records for all matters affecting title. The search entails examining the records in the offices of the Register of Deeds, Clerk of Courts, and other municipal and county officials. These records include recorded documents, judgments, liens, taxes, street easements, sewer assessments, special taxes and other matters that could affect property ownership.

Through careful examination of these records, we determine who owns the property and what interests may already exist in that property. This process, called a title search, provides early warnings of title flaws that must be dealt with before the property can be sold or refinanced.

Commitments & Binders

During the real estate purchase process, the title company will search the public records, and issue what is called a title insurance commitment or a title insurance binder. Along with certain property, buyer, and lender information, this document will likely have a list of requirements and exceptions. This document binds the title company to issue the insurance policy subject to the requirements being met. The list of exceptions are those items that will not be covered by the insurance policy.

The purpose of the title insurance commitment or title insurance binder, as it’s sometimes called, is to indicate to the buyer that they will get title insurance issued if the requirements are met, and to list items not included in the coverage.

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