Before you can buy residential or commercial property, the seller must be able to show a clean title. This is accomplished by conducting a title search. A title search examines public records to confirm a property's legal ownership. The search will also reveal what claims or liens are on the property.
How a Title Search Is Performed
A title search can be conducted by your attorney after your offer to purchase the property has been accepted by the seller. Your attorney will search multiple types of public records, including:
- county land records
- property tax records
- tax liens on the federal or state level
- divorce records
- bankruptcy records
- financial judgments that could potentially attach to the property
Although these records are public, it’s not a good idea to attempt a DIY title search. Untrained individuals can easily miss key details that indicate a problem with the transaction.
As the title search is being conducted, your attorney is creating a chain of title that shows how ownership passed between parties over the years. Breaks in the chain of title are a common sign that the property may not have a marketable title.
The cost for a property title search is typically included with the title insurance policy and payable as part of the closing fees associated with the transaction. Additional costs may apply to resolve any problems the title search uncovers, however.
The Title Search Helps You Avoid Unnecessary Problems
A title search is important to you as a prospective buyer because only the legal owner of the property has the authority to sell. Additionally, if the transaction were to be completed before liens or judgments were dealt with, these obligations attached to the property would then become your financial responsibility.
Discover the Alperin Law Advantage for Your Real Estate Transaction
The Alperin Law team is available seven days a week to assist with residential or commercial real estate transactions in Virginia or North Carolina. Contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office at 757.490.3500 to learn how we can be of service. We serve all communities in Eastern Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, the Eastern Shore, and Northeastern North Carolina, including Currituck, Elizabeth City, and the Outer Banks.