How Long Should a Title Company Take to Deliver a Title Policy?

How Long Should a Title Company Take to Deliver a Title Policy?

7 Sections Of A Florida Title Search Report

1. Apparent Title Vested In:

This section contains the information on who owns the property currently—specifically, who has the current right to ownership of the property. If you are purchasing real estate, then the name of the person you are purchasing it from will appear here. In addition to a name, some information about their deed could be present as well. This person is commonly referred to as the grantor.

2. Description Of Real Property:

The legal description of where the property is located and where such property is recorded in the official records. This section will identify the official records book and page in the public records of the county where the property is located. In the description, a book type and page number will be provided.

3. Muniments Of Title:

This section shows the history of ownership upon the property as it was documented in public records. When ownership of a property and title changes, those changes are documented within the county it resides in. These muniments show issues that have been litigated in the past which may affect the ability to convey.

4. Mortgages, Assignments And Modifications:

A section containing information about mortgages will always be present. It will include all the information necessary like, when the mortgage was taken, who the lender is, the original amount, and where this information is recorded in public records.

5. Other Property Liens And Other Encumbrances:

A lien is the “right to take possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged.” If a lien is recorded in the chain of title, then the property owner must satisfy of record that indebtedness.

An encumbrance means that an outside party has a right or interest to the property in question. These may be financial or non-financial claims. For example, if a property lies in a gated community, that property is subject to the rules and agreements of the gated community. Here is where all other liens, besides mortgages, lis pendens, will be found.

6. Restrictions/Easements:

An easement is the legal right of a person to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. This means that the property may be limited in how it is used or it may allow for a third party to have access to the property.

7. Tax Information:

For the year in question, a Title Search will contain the ad valorem tax status of the property, if the taxes have been paid or not and, if so, how much taxes were paid, and the gross amount of taxes that are due in the year the title search was conducted.

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How Much Is A Title Search In Florida?

Title searches in Florida can range from $150.00 to $500.00 in Florida. In a FAR/BAR contract, the pre-printed cost of a title search is $200.00. However, the price will be higher if you are not under contract to sell the property.

The Curing Period

When conducting a search and examination of a property’s title, the title agent or officer may find unresolved issues. In the “curing” period of the title insurance process, the agent or officer works to remedy these. For instance, if public records show a lien on the property, the agent or officer will work to get a statement of payment from the lien holder or else arrange to pay off the lien. Often, homebuyers never see the work that was done to clear the title of their new property.

Preparation of a Title Report

Though you could conduct a title search on your own, doing so is not recommended. A title report is best prepared by an experienced title officer, title company, or attorney who knows what information to review, where to locate documents, and how to interpret the content of those documents. A preliminary title report might be provided by the seller, but the buyer or buyer’s lender commission completion of the full title report, typically once the property is in escrow.

Documentation that relates to the property, its ownership, and the owner are reviewed to determine the chain of ownership and to locate possible issues with the title. Public records are the source of information. Specifically, information reviewed could include:

  • Property deeds filed with the county
  • County assessment records
  • Mortgages
  • County land records
  • Divorce cases and settlements
  • Bankruptcy court records
  • Tax lien records
  • Street and sewer assessments
  • Land surveys
  • Wills
  • Court filings
  • Tax search

How To Get A Title Report For A Property

  1. Gather information about the property with the records you do have

  2. Go to the local courthouse and search through property deeds

  3. Try to establish a chain of ownership for the property

  4. Visit the County Assessor for more help on locating the actual title

  5. If you still do not have the records, ask your network for a reliable title officer

  6. Work with the title officer until you have the documents you need

It is entirely possible to get a title report for the property you intend to buy on your own. However, title reports are complicated, and those that aren’t well-versed in the language offered in each report may as well be reading another language. Suppose you are confident in your ability to read a title report. In that case, there are two things you can do to glean more information on the property in question: visit the property’s local courthouse or County Assessor.

Courthouses contain a wealth of information on local properties, not the least of which includes chains of title and deed information. That means there’s a good chance your property’s information can be found a few blocks away if you know what to look for. Better yet, this type of title search is free.

In addition to the courthouse, the County Assessor could have what you are looking for — for free, nonetheless. Most states now have additional tools available for free property title searches, and there’s a good chance it is stored at the County Assessor’s office. Just know this: the information isn’t always complete, so take what you glean with a grain of salt.

While it’s easy to take the free route, I don’t recommend doing so unless you are completely confident in your ability to decipher records without error. While visiting your courthouse and Assessor can net you some great information, these methods are only reserved for professionals. I recommend working with a professional for those of you who are less well-versed in conducting title searches.

If you don’t know how to get a title report for a property you are interested in buying, I highly recommend hiring a title officer. As the name would lead you to believe, a title officer is someone that has been professionally trained to identify the defects of a home — again. Defects are those discrepancies that could call a home’s true owner into question. Otherwise known as a title agent, title officers are responsible for confirming whether or not a piece of real estate is, in fact, legitimate and that there are no issues with its title. In doing so, title agents will investigate the status of a property over the course of an impending real estate transaction, ensuring the buyer of exactly what they are dealing with. That way, buyers can commit without the threat of ownership issues appearing in the future.

The Property Title Search Process

A property title search usually occurs once an offer to buy a piece of real estate has been accepted. The title company goes through a process of rigorously examining multiple sources to determine if the property is free of liens, pending lawsuits, unpaid taxes, leases, easements, mortgages and other outstanding issues or restrictions that could impact the transfer of ownership. This includes looking at deeds, divorce cases, county land records, bankruptcy records and other financial judgments potentially attached to the property. A clear property title search means the buyer and lender agree there are no outstanding issues that could crop up after ownership has been transferred.

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Final Thoughts

Regardless of where you purchase your policy, having one will help you recoup financial losses in the event of total loss of the property due to an error in the title report. Think of it as a safety net for one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make.

This article is not a substitute for advice from a licensed real estate agent regarding your particular situation. It is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

How long does a title search take?

The title search can take as little as a few hours, but in most cases, it’ll take between 10 and 14 days. In general, the older the home, the longer the title search. If there’s a lengthy cast of owners and transactions involving the property — a home equity loan against it, for example, or a past property line dispute — there is more work involved to make sure there is a clear title

“The search may go back as far as 50 years, or as far back as needed to identify the root deed and review each subsequent transfer of the property,” says Stitgen. “This ensures there is proper chain of title moving from grantee to grantee, all the way through the current owner.”

What does title insurance cover?

Once the title is transferred into your name, its accuracy is insured by the title company who holds the policy. This places the liability for any damages incurred due to errors in the report squarely on the shoulders of the title company. That said, the scope of that coverage will depend on the buyer.

It’s also important to note that while lenders require borrowers to purchase a lender policy, they might not require borrowers to purchase an owner policy as well. A lender policy relieves you of any obligation to your lender; however, it will only cover their losses, not yours. For that reason, it’s smart to consider getting a policy to protect yourself from ownership claims.

Ownership claims can come at any time and in many forms. A claim can come in the form of a spouse whose name was never removed from the title after a divorce or even an unknown heir of the estate of the previous owners. Any errors in the report could result in you losing your right to ownership as well as any money you have invested into the property. An owner policy will help you recoup any financial losses caused by an error in the title report.

Why PropLogix Title Search Services?

With access to the right records, anyone can do a title search. However, it’s important for homebuyers and real estate investors to understand the additional benefits of title insurance and a professional title search. Many title companies and law firms partner with companies like PropLogix who provide this information to help them issue marketable title policies, protecting a homebuyer’s largest investment.

Can I do my own title search?

Anyone can search property records through their county clerk’s office, and no law says you can’t conduct a title search yourself. However, the experts strongly recommend against trying to sort through the details of a property title on your own.

“Conducting a title search requires knowledge of real estate requirements and lien periods and the ability to navigate various courthouse records. It’s not advisable to do this without experience, due to the complexity of records and indexing,” says Patti DeGennaro, senior operations manager and process specialist with Title Alliance, Ltd., in Media, Pennsylvania.

Also, “if you wish to purchase title insurance for your property, conducting the title search yourself will not suffice because the title insurer will require that a professional conduct, review and advise on the search prior to issuing a policy,” adds Stitgen.

With additional reporting by David McMillin

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