Buying a home is undoubtedly one of the most exciting events in our lifetimes. Before you get to closing, though, you’ll encounter many necessary steps between offer and closing. Some of these steps include obtaining an inspection, getting the home appraised, and conducting a title search.
Today we’ll take a closer look at the property title search, including what it is, how long it takes, and how it protects your home purchase.
What is a property title search?
When buying a home, we’d all like to assume that the seller is entitled to sell the home in question. Unfortunately, that can’t always be assumed. If someone has a claim against, or a lien on, the property, it can be devastating for the new owners. To avoid this, a property title search is conducted.
A title search is a thorough examination of public records to determine and confirm a property’s legal ownership. The search will uncover any claims or liens that may be on a property and verify that the seller is the only one that can lay claim to the title. For any real estate transaction to be completed, a clean title is required. If any liens or claims are found, they must be settled first.
How long does a title search take?
The length of time a title search takes will vary based on the type of property and transaction. The title search can take as little as a few hours or as long as 10 to 14 days—but generally assume it will take about two weeks.
Several factors affect the timeframe, including
- The age and transaction history of the home
- The number and availability of documents needing to be reviewed
- The presence of any unresolved liens or other title issues
- The type of home and nature of the transaction
Your title company should keep you informed during every step of the title search process, and some will be more transparent than others. With Expetitle, for instance, our online dashboard will provide a glance at which stage your closing is in and what the next steps are. You’ll know exactly where you stand every step of the way.
How do title searches protect you?
Think of a home title search like an employer’s background check on a job applicant. The search will uncover any recorded claims or issues before owning the home. It will ensure there are no claims, liens, or issues with the home that could result in another person or entity asserting they have a stake in the home.
Also remember it’s a good idea to get title insurance when buying your home. Title insurance will protect against any potential problems with the title. If the title company misses something in the search, the title insurance will protect you, the buyer, and ensure the title company will handle any resulting problems. Title insurance is a one-time premium paid at closing that will protect you as the homeowner.
Buying a home is an exciting process, and you likely want to get into your new home as quickly as possible. However, the title search process is not something you want to rush through. While it may take up to a couple of weeks, it will ensure you’re protected and in good shape for decades to come.