Before performing a title search on your own, you should know the benefits of having a professional perform one for you. While it’s not necessary, experience is the best way to ensure the process goes quickly and accurately.
An American Land Title Association (ALTA) certified professional will know the ins and outs, and will be able to determine any information or records that can impact ownership accurately. They will also be able to provide you with a certified abstract once the title search is complete.
While you will need to pay a professional to perform a title search, the security and accuracy they can offer you paired with the time you will save from not having to search through records makes it a worthy investment.
Still, there are some instances where you will want to perform a title search yourself. With patience and attention to detail, it is possible.
How do I do a title search on a property?
- Attain the name of the property owner or the address (having both is preferable.)
- Take this information to the appropriate county’s Tax Assessor’s Office. Verify the tax information and that no delinquencies or future assessments are scheduled. You will also want to retrieve the lot and parcel number and verify that the property owner is also who is responsible for paying the real estate taxes.
- Contact the County or City Clerk; Give them the Lot and Parcel Number or name of the property owner. They will give you the book and page number, which you will need to find in their Name Index. Here you will look for deeds, liens, releases, mortgages, and assignments linked to the property.
- Next, go to the Civil Court records. Here you will also be looking for liens, judgments, or claims against the property.
- The final place to pull records from is the Probate Court. Here is where you will be searching for anything (such as divorce records and death notices) that could leave an outside party with authority to sign for the property.
- Once all documents are collected, you can perform an abstract. This is the process of comparing all the records to determine the current status of the property.
What does a title search look for?
A title search determines who the legal owner of a property is and confirms that they have the legal right to sell the property.
To resolve this, you will need to look for any claims, tax delinquencies, judgments, liens, or outstanding mortgages that must be released or paid before the property can be sold.
How much should a title search cost?
A title search typically cost $75-$200. Variables such as where you live, the company you use, and the value of the property all impact the price.
Do I need a license or permit to do one for my own property?
You do not need a license or permit to conduct a title search. Most states now have additional tools to conduct free title searches on a property. However, to attain a certified abstract, you will need the aid of a certified title abstractor.
How can I find out if there are liens on a property in a title search?
During a title search, you can find lien records in a few different places. The County Clerk and Civil Court Records will both have lien records that may exist against the property.