What is a Title Search?

Before someone buys a piece of property they want to make sure they are getting a good title to the property, so they would probably hire an attorney to do a “title search”.  If they need to secure financing, the lending institution would require a title examination to assure the seller is conveying a good and marketable title.  The attorney doing the title examination would be looking for many things, including the following: mortgages, life estates, right-of-ways, judgment liens, special assessment liens, current leases, deer restrictions, easements, tax liens, mechanics liens, or anything else that may affect the title.

Some Terms to Know

1.  A Marketable Title is a title that the ordinary person in the ordinary market would accept.  This is based on the concept that probably no title is completely free of all defects.

2.  An Abstract of Title is the history of the title with a full summary of all grants, conveyances, wills, judicial proceedings, liens, etc.

3.  The Chain of Title is a search of the grantor-grantee index at the local courthouse which shows a chain of ownership over the years.  In other words, it shows who sold the property and who purchased the property over the years.

4.  A Certificate of Title is a statement of opinion prepared by the attorney after searching the public records.

Title Insurance

Title Insurance normally covers defects which do not appear in the public records.  Title insurance indicates only that the title is insurable and not that it is without defects.  In some cases when they do find a defect in the public records they will still sell you title insurance, however they will make a note of that defect and the policy will not cover that defect.  In South Carolina the buyer usually pays for the title insurance.

There are Two Types of Title Insurance Policies

1.  Mortgage Policy, also know as the lender’s policy, which would cover the amount of the mortgage only.  Most lenders require this policy.

2.  Owner’s Policy covers the owner’s equity plus the mortgage if there was one.

As always, your thoughts, questions, or comments are greatly appreciated. Let me know if I can help with any of your Charleston SC real estate needs or questions.  To look for homes anywhere in the tri-county area go to my website at http://www.carolinajoe.com/mls/


"Carolina Joe" Idleman

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