Performing a Title Search - Posted by Ken

Posted by Jimbob on October 13, 1998 at 10:13:03:


You do not research titles at the courthouse, you research them through title companies. The reason the courthouse said there are no guarantees is because you might pull up a record today, and tomorrow a lien gets recorded against it.

The best way to approach this is to call a local title company and tell them you want to run a preliminary title search on a piece of real property. A preliminary search may not reveal all liens against the property, but it will give you a good idea of how much equity is in the property. If there is a lot and you have a seller on the hook, you can go for the full blow title report, that normally runs around $500.


Performing a Title Search - Posted by Ken

Posted by Ken on October 13, 1998 at 08:18:31:

This message is primarily for investors in Burl. Co. NJ, but would appreciate input from others. I went to the courthouse this morning to inquire about doing title searches myself, and the person told me that if I searched the records at their facility, there is no guarantee that the title would be clear, even though the record would show that. How can this be? Aren’t liens recorded at the courthouse? Isn’t that where the title companies do their searches?

Re: Performing a Title Search - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on October 13, 1998 at 22:11:52:

All title searches are performed from courthouse records. Title companies use these records to prepare a schedules A & B/title commitment. Although there is no substitute for title insurance. You can get a vast amount of info from the records. The county that I do most of my investing in, has all the records on the internet. If at all possible, I do a quick title search to find out (1) who the owners are (2) any mtgs on the property, their amount, are the assumable? and (3) any other liens against the current owner. Of course I examine titles at my job all day long, so I know what I am doing. I will stress that there can be off the record title problems such as unpaid taxes, forgeries, missing heirs, tenants, survey problems, etc. Only title insurance can protect you from these.

Re: Performing a Title Search - Posted by Tom Brown

Posted by Tom Brown on October 13, 1998 at 16:02:28:

Another reason that the records at the courthouse may not be accurate is that there is no requirement that any liens, contracts, deeds etc be filed at the courthouse. That is why there is title insurance.

Re: Performing a Title Search - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on October 13, 1998 at 11:47:09:

You can research title at the courthouse. It does take some experience to learn how to read/abstract the title. Do the names match exactly from one deed to the next? Was it notarized properly? Are the legal descriptions the same?

You can also search for judgements against the seller(s) at the courthouse. You will not find judgements recorded in other counties. Are you going to check the bankruptcy court records also?

The title companies already have all of this in their computers and update as new items are filed. You can get a title commitment without cash out of pocket. But remember these two rules. When buying and you have cash or equity at stake-GET TITLE INSURANCE! Rule 2-remember rule 1.

Doing the search yourself has its place. How much are you willing to bet on your expertize at it?