A property title is legal documentation that includes information about the property you are purchasing and who owns it, and often takes the form of a deed. Before you buy a home, you must have a title search completed. This search ensures that the title is clear of any problems and that there will be no unexpected surprises. If you have any questions about what a title is, and what you can do with it, read on for the six things you should know about your property title.
Purchasing Title Insurance
There are two types of title insurance policies which the owner will buy:
- Owners’ title insurance, which protects the buyer
- Lender’s title insurance, which protects the lender
An owner’s policy will protect the owner if a problem is discovered after the title search is conducted. The insurance company will provide legal assistance and pay any valid claims. This insurance is paid at closing and will protect you for as long as you own the home.
Prior Claims to the Title
A title investigator will look for any claims to your property title that may affect your purchase. The search includes public records and other land records. A few of the most common title issues are:
- The previous owner failed to pay taxes
- A contractor was not paid for completed work
- Mistakes or omissions in deeds
- Undisclosed owners, heirs, or conflicting wills
Resolving Issues with the Title
If it discovered that the seller of your new home has ownership with another party, then any owners must sign the closing documents before the sale can be completed. Any outstanding judgments or delinquent taxes but be paid before a clear title is received, and the seller is responsible for resolving any title issues.
A property title search will also provide information about easements, restrictions, and rights-of-way that could limit your use of the property. Make sure to review these documents before closing to ensure that you understand any potential impact.
What to Do with Your Property Title
Once you are the new owner of your home, place your property title in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
What Happens to Your Title When You Sell
If you then sell your property in the future, your title ownership will be transferred to the buyer. The new buyer will receive a copy of the title a few weeks after the closing process, and the title you hold will then be invalid.
What to Do if You Lose Your Title
There is no reason to panic if you lose your title. You can go to the local clerk’s office at the courthouse of the county where the property is located, and you can request a copy. If you have a mortgage on the property, your mortgage banker should also have a copy available.
A Title Company You Can Trust: Colony Title
At Colony Title, we will help you through the process of getting your property’s title and help you avoid the pitfalls of hidden costs while you buy your home. We are also well trained in identifying any and all errors in public records and helping you resolve them. We specialize in real estate title insurance in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., and we will perform an expert title search, check through all past documentation, and examine records for any fraud or forgery. For more information on how we can get you into the home of your dreams, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 884-1160. To get more updates on housing markets and how to get into your home, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.