8 Items a Title Search Might Uncover

Buying a home or property is a major investment, often the biggest one of your life, and taking the right steps to ensure that the home is free from any encumbrances before you make the purchase will protect you and allow you to enjoy your new asset for years to come. Some of the most important things to think about include hiring an inspector to check for safety issues, making sure the property is priced fairly compared to other homes in the neighborhood, and doing a title search to determine that there are no limits on how you might use your land or if someone else’s name is attached to the home or property.

A title search – which involves retrieving the court documents associated with the home or land, such as liens or easements – can prevent you from buying your dream home, only to find out that you have suddenly become the owner of someone else’s debt along with the home. While it is possible to determine whether or not your home is free from liens or other constraints on your own by going over courthouse files or visiting the assessor’s office in the county where the property is located to view records, title issues can be complicated, and hiring an experienced real estate attorney will not only save you a lot of legwork, but will also make sure that you don’t miss something on your own by ensuring that your home is free from legal issues.

Title searches essentially determine whether or not the home you are buying is free from liens or can be legally sold by the person selling the home, in case ownership is disputed. Here are eight important things that a title search might uncover:

  • The current owner of the property.
  • A description of the land, including acreage, restrictions, easements and other covenants that could prevent certain usages.
  • Any type of encroachment onto someone else’s property, such as a fence or a tree, that will require some type of resolution before the final sale.
  • Restrictive covenants. Condominiums or homes that are part of a homeowner’s association may have restrictions on what owners can do with their property, including what colors they can paint their homes, the architectural designs allowed for new homes and other restrictions such as swimming pools or decorative elements.
  • Any existing liens on the property. A lien is a debt, and it could be a mortgage lien or a mechanic’s lien, which is a lien against a property placed by construction firms for work performed or materials used to improve a property.
  • Judgment liens. If the owner of the property is a defendant in a lawsuit and loses his or her case, a lien could have been placed on the property to cover the lawsuit settlement.
  • Tax liens. The former owner of the property may have unpaid local, state or federal taxes, and the government could have placed a lien on the home to cover those back taxes.
  • Marital liens. In some cases, the title of a home will be given to one party in a divorce settlement, with a lien in place for the other party as a way to secure spousal or child support at a later date.

Will title search finds prevent a sale?

Any title issue, including those that may arise from an inherited home with long-forgotten spousal or child support liens still in place, will have to be resolved before closing.

Contact a Florida Real Estate Attorney

If you are buying a previously owned home and are concerned that there may be liens on the property that haven’t been disclosed to you, a title search is an important step in the buying process. Having an experienced attorney at your side can help you unearth unknown liens so you are not left with debt from one of the home’s previous owners. To protect yourself and ensure that your dream home does not become a nightmare, contact experienced real estate attorney Ricardo Rodriguez at Rodriguez Law at (305) 262-8226.

About Rodriguez Law, P.L.

Rodriguez Law, P.L. is dedicated to providing quality personal legal services to our clients. Our reputation for combining quality, knowledge, and technology to deliver efficiency and value makes us one of the most trusted law offices in Miami-Dade and Broward.