What’s a title?
A title establishes an individual as the legal owner of a piece of property. While titles are most commonly associated with real estate property, titles can apply to personal property as well. If you’ve ever purchased a used car, the seller likely transferred the certificate of title, or certificate of ownership, to you as part of that transaction. Titles are even used for other valuable properties such as antiques and artwork.
In the case of real estate, title refers to who has legal ownership and the legal right to use a piece of property. This can be more complicated than your old used car. A number of legal issues can muddy a real estate transaction. One of our responsibilities at Attorneys Title Group is to conduct a title search, or an examination of public records, to uncover and resolve any issues of ownership. As a buyer you want a clean title — one that doesn’t have liens for unpaid taxes against it, claims of ownership by a faraway aunt or uncle, or an unknown easement through the backyard. A clean title helps any real estate transaction to go through properly and efficiently.
The what ifs
But what if these problems go undiscovered? Even the most thorough title search cannot guarantee every title obstacle will be cleared. In addition to matters in the public record, other title problems may exist that cannot be found in a search. That’s where title insurance comes in.
Problems with the title can put a damper, to say the least, on your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as bring financial loss. Title insurance provides coverage to defend against any legal action challenging your title as insured, and will either resolve title problems or pay the insured’s losses. For a one-time premium, an owner’s title insurance policy remains in effect as long as you, or your heirs, retain an interest in the property.
When you buy a home, title insurance protects your investment.