Homebuying is a complex and stressful process — without careful planning, research and help from a few good homebuying professionals, you may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars only to have a sale fall through before closing. A significant step is ensuring the property you’re buying has a clear title.
What Is a Clear Title?
In order for a property to be sold, it needs a clear title. For a title to be considered clear, it can’t have any liens. A lien is a debt owed to a creditor — it can’t be removed from a property until it has been paid. Tax debt and back child support are the most common types of liens placed on a property. They’re used to collect a debt that might otherwise go ignored by the debtor, at least until they try to sell a property.
How Do I Find Out If a Title is Clear?
A title search will let you know if the property you’re interested in buying has any liens on it, as well as any other complications. You may find that there are errors on the deed to the property, undisclosed heirs who have a right to refuse the sale or forgery on the title, all of which will leave you unable to close on the sale. Being proactive is key here — sometimes the property owners themselves are unaware of any liens or other issues.
How Do I Do a Title Search?
You can do a title search on your own, digging through public records on the property. A title search requires investigating records kept by the county registrar, real estate tax collection offices and any circuit/district courts that manage real estate. Most buyers prefer to work with a title company that has the knowledge and experience to conduct a thorough title search. This way you’ll find any liens, unpaid taxes, pending lawsuits or probate proceedings before it’s too late. Your title professionals will determine which, if any, items need to be cleared before you the sale can proceed.
Title Services from Colony Title Associates
Colony Title has been in business since 1995 and handles more than 2,000 real estate closings per year. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a representative about closing, please give us a call at 410-884-1160 or visit our website for more information.