How to Do a Property Title Search for Free
Purchasing property can be a very worthwhile investment, so long as the property you’ve purchased has been properly and rightfully transferred into your possession.
When you purchase a property from another individual, it is imperative that they have a clear title to the property. If they do not have the legal title of the property, you could be buying a piece of land that will never actually be considered yours.
The problem lies in the improper selling and obtaining of property. Every time a piece of land is sold, the buyer and seller need to document the transaction indefinitely. If they do not, title companies will recognize that the ownership of the property is unclear.
Without clear transactions throughout the history of the property, there’s a good chance that you’ll never be able to obtain title insurance from a title insurance company. This isn’t a good thing since property insurance is a must-have.
Performing a Title Search
In order to find out who has the legitimate rights to a property you’re interested in, it’s ideal to perform a title search. There are a few ways to do this; one way is to hire a company to perform an accurate title search report. However, you can do your own title search if you so choose.
Keep in mind, performing your own title search can take up quite a bit of time. While it might seem like the better option in some aspects, there may be a lot of work involved depending on the property.
Visit a Courthouse
The first thing you can do to complete your own title search is to visit the courthouse in the same county in which the property is located. Here, you can look through the chains of title and deed information they have to offer.
If the property’s owners have been properly recorded over time, there should be paperwork for that. Anytime the property was sold to someone, the seller should be the buyer from the previous transaction.
If there is an agreement missing, also know as a “break in the chain of title”, then there’s a good chance you won’t be the legitimate owner of the property. You’ll need to locate the missing information to make the agreement legal. This approach can take a long time, but it is free.
To do your own title search, you can also visit the local government website for county assessor information. This tool is free to use, and it will include all of the properties that exist. Bear in mind that if you check these lists, there may be information that is incomplete.
If you do not see your property on the list, you’ll need to check the local courthouse for the deed information.
Taking Care of Business
Keep in mind that working with a title search company will lower the chances that you miss any information, or make a mistake. In some cases, it helps to invest in a company that will be responsible if any mistakes arise during the process.
If you want to do a title search for free, there are options to do so. Bear in mind, this will take you longer, and information will be harder to obtain. If you’re planning on purchasing the property soon, a title search company might come up with the right answers faster.
It all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend, or if you’d rather take the chance and do it for free. For a small amount, you can have a title search company do all of the work for you, and ensure that the property can legally be passed over to you.