What is a Title Search?


When buying a new home, a title search on the property is essential. A title search is an examination of public records to trace the history of ownership and the legal standing of a property. These records may include deeds, mortgages, tax records, court judgments and more. This historical account ensures that there are no irregularities in the ownership timeline and provides a clear picture of the property’s past.

Why is a Title Search Necessary?

A title search is necessary because it can protect you and your lender against issues with the property’s title. These issues may include bankruptcy issues, contested wills, filing errors, property disputes, tax liens and more. By identifying these issues early in the homebuying process, you can address them before signing the final paperwork.

Once your title search is completed, you’ll have a few options, depending on whether the property title is “clean” or “dirty.”

  • Clean Title – A clean title means the seller has full, legal ownership rights and the property is free of any liens or other encumbrances. You’re free to move forward with your home purchase!
  • Dirty Title – A dirty, or cloudy, title means the there are some judgments against the property that will prevent you from moving forward. Your title company will work to help clear the title so you can continue with your home purchase!

Do I Need a Title Search for a New Construction Home?

Even with a new construction home, the empty property will have its own history. Prior to construction, it’s still likely that the land had previous owners. By having a title search done on your new build home, you can have peace of mind that your brand-new home has a clean title!

How Long Does a Title Search Take?

Most title searches take one to two weeks, depending on the complexity and age of the property. If you’re purchasing an older home, there are likely to be more documents to review than with a new home.

Unless you are a professional, it is not recommended to conduct your own title search. These legal documents can be complex and if you fail to identify a title issue, the oversight could cost a lot more than it would have been through a title company or attorney.

You May Also Like