First, the word “Title” is a collective term for all of your legal rights to own, use and dispose of land. Title includes all previous ownership, uses and transfers. To legally transfer real estate property, a title search must be performed, and, in most cases, the title must be found free of any circumstances that could endanger your right of ownership.
When a property is sold, a ‘title company’ often is tasked with searching the property’s title history also known as the “title search”. This search is used to examine all the public records on a home to determine the owners right to sell and discover any potential challenges to the transfer. Here you will find information on taxes, mortgages owed, judgements against the property, land uses and encumbrances that may affect the future use.
There are some hidden hazards that even the most diligent title search may never reveal. For, instance, the previous owner could have incorrectly stated their marital status, resulting in a possible claim by the legal spouse. There may also be cases of fraud, forgery, errors or even seller confusion that come to light after you purchase a home. These can jeopardize your right to ownership.
Hidden hazards and can be protected against in a title insurance policy. (link this to the next article) The title insurance company can defend your title in court if necessary and/or indemnify you against monetary loss or damage.