Buying a home or other piece of property requires a major financial commitment. Before
you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to make sure your ownership rights are
protected. Otherwise, a previous owner or another party could make a claim against the
property you’ve just purchased – creating a major headache for you and possibly
leading to some serious financial issues.
Element Title provides comprehensive protection for property owners by conducting a
thorough property title search and providing title insurance. Here’s a look at the details.
Deed vs. Title
When you purchase property, you’ll receive a deed, which is a legal document stating
that you are the owner of the property. However, this document does not protect your
ownership rights. Without a clear title, there’s a chance that you may run into problems
with ownership disputes or find out later that there are issues with easements, back
taxes, outstanding mortgages, or outstanding liens.
A thorough title search will allow you to view the “chain of title” for the property, which
shows the full history of the property’s ownership. It will also reveal any title defects and
encumbrances. This is done by searching town, city, or county land records for any
While it may seem like a fairly simple task, a title search is not something you should try
to do on your own. Most jurisdictions provide public property records, but they can be
complicated, challenging to locate, and difficult to interpret. Doing this critical search
correctly requires having the right training and knowing where to look.
The skilled and experienced title officers at Element Title will investigate the property’s
history, analyze records, and conduct property surveys. This includes completing the
1. Search for Errors, Liens, or Encumbrances
Public record errors are a common reason for title problems. This could be anything
from a mortgage pay-off not being properly recorded to a previous owner’s failure to pay
a contractor resulting in a lien being put on the property. Your title officer will review all
public releases, gather necessary information from previous property owners and
lenders, and confirm the validity of any liens on the property.
2. Verify the Legal Description, Easements, and Boundaries
After you purchase a property, you don’t want to worry about an unfriendly neighbor
bringing up a dispute about the location of your fence or where your property line falls.
Our title officers will verify the dimensions of your property and any associated
3. Investigate Illegal Deeds, Missing Heirs, Impersonations, and Forgeries
If someone has forged documents or holds an illegal deed to the property, this can
cause some significant issues. There’s also the concern that the previous owner’s heir
could come back and claim their rights to the property. To avoid this, we will review all
documents to ensure there are no fraudulent transfers and confirm that all state laws
regarding notification of heirs were followed.
If we uncover any potential issues that could impact your ownership rights, you’ll have a
chance to resolve them before you sign your purchase documents.
Once your title search is complete, you can further protect your ownership rights by
purchasing title insurance. This protects you, the property owner, from financial losses
and legal costs that may occur if there is a claim or lawsuit from a previous owner.
If you’re financing your home purchase, your lender may also require you to obtain a
lender’s title insurance policy before issuing a mortgage. This protects them by ensuring
their interest in the property will be honored, even if a problem with the title comes to
light in the future.
Choose a Title Company You Can Trust
Protecting your ownership rights isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you’re looking for
a title insurance company you can trust, contact the professionals at Element Title. We’ll
help give you the confidence and peace of mind you need when purchasing a home or
other piece of property. Give us a call today to get started.