What is a Title Search?
A title search is performed to determine if a seller has a saleable interest in the property and whether any county-level liens exist on the property that needs to be paid off at closing (mortgages, back taxes, mechanic's liens, or other assessments). As a result, you receive a document of data research on a piece of real estate. When searching for property information it is important to be sure that you receive a title search abstract, not just a property deed. The deed by itself will not contain liens or mortgages.
Anyone may do a title search and documents concerning conveyances of land are a matter of public record. However, it is often the case that people choose to contact a title company or attorney to conduct an exhaustive title search. For example, a title report may also show any easements, or recorded legal rights to the property or portions of the property. A previous owner may have legally given a neighbor the right to share the driveway, or the city may have a right to strips of the property for putting power lines, communication lines, water pipes, or sewer pipes.
In the United States, the buyer of a property should always purchase title insurance, which protects the buyer from any title problems that may arise after the sale. The title insurance company issues a report and issues an insurance policy in support of its findings. However, title searches are most often carried out before contracting is completed between parties and sometimes during the escrow phase of closing.
A title search is also performed when an owner of a certain real property wishes to mortgage his property and the bank requires him to insure their transaction.