If you are getting ready to purchase a new piece of property, you have a lot of things to get through before you can complete the transaction. If you have never gone through a real estate purchase, you may want to consider hiring a real estate lawyer like Heil & Saylor before you start the process. This is because there are many aspects of a closing you may not be aware of, such as the title search. Here is an overview on why a title search is important, and why a real estate lawyer can help you if there are any problems with title.
A History of Owners
The title search provides a history of prior owners. This is important because it will show previous transactions and whether or not those transactions were legal.
For example, say John and Jane Smith owned the property twenty-five years ago. But when it was sold, the deed that transferred the property only shows that John Smith signed the property over, not John and Jane. There are two reasons this could have happened: The first reason is that John just sold the property outright without including Jane. The second is that Jane passed away. The second reasons is the one that seems most likely, so a real estate lawyer will look through the title search to make sure Jane has a death certificate on file.
Easements, Liens and Right-of-Ways
Another reason why a title search is so important is because the title search will show if there are any easements, liens and right-of-ways.
An easement is a legal document that shows someone else, or another entity, has the legal right to access your property now and then. This would be in the case of a utility company having utility lines buried underneath your property. The easement gives them the right to access your property to maintain those utility lines.
A right-of-way is an easement that allows someone to cross your land. This would be in the case of a shared driveway or other path along your property that someone needs to use to gain access to their own property. Also, a municipality may have right-of-way at the end of your property towards the roadway for the right to cross onto your property when they are doing road repair.
A lien attached to property means that someone who previously owned the property owes money to another entity. A lien goes with the property, not with the owner. So if someone sold property previously with a lien attached, and that wasn't caught during the title search, that lien is now part of the property. If you are looking to buy the real estate, you'll be responsible for paying that lien off.
It's helpful to have a real estate lawyer in the event the title search does show issues with title, as the attorney will not only be able to know what to look for with potential issues, but help you rectify them as well.