What is a Property Title?
A Property Title is a collection of documents that are associated with a given property, identified by a unique parcel number.
What is a Property Title Search?
A Property Title Search is a process of retrieving all associated documents using owners name, address or parcel number. There are many sources for associated documents, such as local county clerk's office, county recorder's office, county tax collector office, IRS, etc…
Can I perform a title search myself?
The answer is yes. However, we do not recommend it.
A title search is performed by an experienced team of abstractors (people who find the right documents via an indexing process) in-person, at the county offices. They have number of years of experience performing title searches and know all the tricks to pull up all of the required documentation.
Do I need a title search when I buy a property via sheriff's sale or foreclosure sale?
Absolutely, Yes. Buyers need to verify all liens and mortgages against the property before offering to bid on the property at the sheriff's sale. It is very common that the bid amount at the auction does not reflect the total lien amount against the property. All liens associated with a foreclosed property transfer to a new owner (except for certain types of sheriff's sales).
Are all documents located in a single file?
No. Documents are recorded by a county recorder in the chronological order, therefore careful indexing is required to assemble all required documents for a given property.
What is the legal description of the property?
The legal description of the property is a unique parcel number with all lot dimensions around the property.
What is a deed?
Deed is an official document showing the change in property ownership.
What is an index?
Documents are typically searched in an index directory where the search can by done using certain information.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a legal contract between lender and borrower that would allow lender to certain rights to the property in the case of mortgage default.
What is a mortgage release?
Upon paying off the mortgage with a given lender, the lender would issue a mortgage release against the property.
What is a lien?
A lien is a claim against the property or the owner that is left unforefilled.
What is a mortgage assignment?
An assignment is most likely the term used with mortgage assignments. The action of transferring mortgage debt from one lender to another.
What is "Lis pendens"?
Lis pendens is a term used to indicate that foreclosure action is initiated against the owner (or property).
What is abstracting?
The process of arranging documents in the logical order for a given property is called abstracting.
Can I call the county office to abstract documents for my property?
County office does not provide abstractor services and will not look for documents for you?
What service do I order if I buy the property from the bank (REO)?
You have to order a Full Title Search service. A bank is counted as current owner, while the liens on the house are most likely carried over from the previous owner.
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