What is a Title and Title Search?

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A home title acts as the record of ownership for a property. More specifically, it contains the history of who has owned the property, all liens (including mortgages) that are currently on the home, and a report detailing the physical features of the home and property. The title grants all legal property rights to the home title owner, and allows that individual to sell the home, rent, or transfer ownership.

A title search is an important process that takes place when you are purchasing a home. A title search provides security for both the new home buyer as well as the mortgage lender. During the title search it will be discovered if the house has an existing claim or any liens attached to the property’s title. Ultimately, a title search investigates the public records of a specific property and validates the property’s owner.

A mortgage lender will not approve a mortgage for a home that has an outstanding lien. There is always the possibility that the current owner of the home has no idea about an old claim against the property, so it is important to understand the property’s title history and any outstanding claims since all debts and mortgage liens follow the property, not the title holder. If a title search is skipped, the new homeowner may be stuck with debts or inquiries from previous homeowners.

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