Learn About Title Insurance

Once you find the perfect property, it is important to understand the factors from the past that will affect your use of it.

Covenants that run with the land, easements or use licenses granted by prior owners and unexpired leases are just of few of the items that might limit your use of the property.  Real property taxes are a super lien on the property and if left unpaid could result in the property being taken by the Government.

Title Examination: The Chain of Title

A property’s history of ownership begins with a transfer out of an original source, such as a grant from the government or a determination of ownership by a court of competent jurisdiction.  The chain of title is created when owners sell or transfer the property to subsequent owners.  Deeds, court judgments and probate distributions are common “links” in the chain of title.

At Security Title, we inspect each link for potential problems. We carefully examine the recorded documents in the public record to confirm that each transfer is sound.

During this process, we may find simple mistakes, such as misspelled names or lot numbers. We may also discover issues concerning the family members of past owners who might claim an interest in the property.   Much of the work title companies do is correcting and resolving issues from the past so that they do not affect the properties future.    We are human, though, so the real benefit provided by a title company is the Owners Title Insurance Policy that guarantees our work.

Title Examination: Financial Issues

It’s important that you are not burdened by a past owner’s financial obligations.

During the title examination we look for previous unreleased (and possibly unpaid) mortgages and liens, which would hold a superior lien on the property.  Examples of liens might include unpaid taxes, obligations due from court judgments, and nonpayment to vendors who performed work on the property (called mechanics liens). We also search for pending court cases that might affect the ownership of the property.

By alerting you to financial issues attached to the property, and working to resolve those issues before you purchase, we insure that you acquire the property free of debts incurred prior to your ownership.

Title Examination: Physical Property Issues

A previous owner may have built improvements that violate zoning or boundary lines.  A retracement sketch of the property by a licensed surveyor will disclose violations before you close and become obligated to correct or remove structures that pre-date your ownership.

Access is another good example of what is covered by title insurance.  It is not uncommon for legal access to the property to be different from the physical access to the property.  If someone cuts off access to your property, you will want the strength of Stewart Title or Fidelity National Title defending your right to drive to your home.

The Final Step: Title Insurance

Don’t take our word for it!  No matter how carefully we examine the title, issues can arise; unknown heirs may come forward, deeds may be forged, legal documents may have been signed under duress, leaving those documents open to legal challenge. Liens may not be recorded in the public record, but still owed against the property. Protect yourself with an Owners Title Insurance policy!

For a one-time premium paid at closing, you are protected for as long as you own the property.  Not only does an owner’s title policy insure your interest, it regularly pays legal expenses necessary to defend your title to the property.