Why a title examination is so important for prospective homebuyers

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2015 | residential real estate

Once an offer to purchase a home is accepted, the real work begins for the homebuyers, as they must start planning their impending move in earnest. This means picking a mover, packing up their items, buying new furniture and, of course, familiarizing themselves with the new area.

Before any of this work commences, however, it’s the attorney representing the homebuyers who will be doing much of the work. That’s because most offers to purchase a home will include a provision requesting what is known as marketable title, meaning one that is otherwise free from any and all reasonable doubt.

This determination as to whether the seller is indeed even able to convey marketable title will come from the attorney — acting as an independent third party — who will conduct a comprehensive investigation known as a title examination designed to uncover any defects.

In general, a title examination would involve the attorney retained by the homebuyers parsing through public records accessible via computer or something called an abstract of title, which is essentially the collection of public records related to the parcel of residential real estate in question.

In addition to looking for any defects in the title, the attorney would also look to determine whether there are any outstanding claims against the lands or other actions that needed to be taken, and whether the ownership information is accurate.

This is by no means an easy task that can be accomplished in a matter of hours.

Indeed, a proper title examination will require the attorney to not only carefully read through otherwise arcane legal documents like mortgages, wills, divorce decrees and judgments, but also create accurate timelines accounting for laws that may have since been amended or repealed altogether.

What all of this really serves to underscore is that a title examination is an incredibly important and incredibly complex matter, but that prospective homebuyers who really want peace of mind going forward — and the ability to back out in the event questions arise — should strongly consider retaining the services of a skilled and experienced legal professional.