Do you need a title search but you’re not exactly sure which type to get? There are a couple different options as to how you can approach getting a real estate title search. You can have a professional examiner prepare a certified title abstract for you. You can do the search yourself. Or you can buy a basic electronic data report from an online website. So how do you decide which way to go?
First you need to ask yourself what the purpose of this search is. Do you need accurate, detailed information for a legal purpose or because you are considering buying a property, or do you simply want a title search done out of curiosity. Then, ask yourself if it is okay for the report to have some missing information. If you’re making a decision about a several hundred thousand dollar property, for example, you may want to make sure the due diligence is as complete as possible. Also, determine what your budget is for a title search because the prices vary.
When you know the answers to those questions, consider your main options:
- Certified Title Search: A full certified title abstract prepared by an examiner will have the most complete and accurate information. However, it is the most expensive option and may cost up to several hundred dollars, depending on the type of property and search. Yet, you are getting what you pay for. If you need an extensive and precise title search, this is the way to go. All liens, mortgages, current property ownership information, tax assessors’ records, judgments and other encumbrances will be provided and copies of the official documents are available. For more information, read The Difference Between a Certified & Non-certified Title Search or What is a Title Search & Why do You Need One?
- Basic Title Search Report: A basic report from online web-sites may not have as much information as a full certified title search, but it will be cheaper. For example, LienList.com offers a basic search for $69.00. It includes a legal description of the property, purchase mortgage data, liens, tax assessors’ records, and grantor/grantee listings for the current ownership.
- Do It Yourself: If you do not want to spend money on a title search then you can do it yourself. However, it might take six or seven hours going through documents in various land records offices to do so. Most people who do a title search themselves will actually get about ninety percent accuracy. So, if there is no room for error on your title search you might want to hire a professional. If you still want to do your own title searching, spend the time learning how to do a search correctly, that way it’ll be close to what a professional title examiner would present to you on a certified title abstract. To learn more, read Do It Yourself Title Search.