We don’t blame you for wondering why you need title insurance. But think of it like this. When you purchase any particular piece of real estate, it may come with decades, or even a century or more of ownership baggage.
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. Our goal is to ensure your transaction isn’t derailed, and your property ownership isn’t disrupted down the road.
Here’s an idea of what we might find during our search:
- Property liens
If a prior owner of the property left behind any debt, a bank or other institution may have placed liens on the property. Now those debts are yours.
If a prior owner filed bankruptcy, some circumstances require that the courts be petitioned to release the property for sale, setting back your purchase.
- Public records errors
Honest mistakes happen, but clerical or filing errors can lead to incorrect or incomplete documentation, and delay.
- Long lost heirs
When a property ownership falls to a person’s heirs following their death, if those heirs were missing or unknown at the time, they could lay claim to the property (your property) even years later.
- Undiscovered wills
The discovery of a will of a deceased prior owner could put your title in danger if the will requests the property go to an heir. Again, this can arise years later.
Forged and fabricated documents do find their way into public records, and if uncovered, can jeopardize property ownership.
- False impersonations
The shady act of false impersonation is when one would illegally claim property ownership based on a common or similar name. Purchase from a false owner puts your property ownership at risk.
- Unlawful deeds
Any number of untruths by previous owners can result in an illegal deed. Age, marital status or immigration status can all affect the legality of prior deeds and lead to uncertainty as to ownership.
- Undiscovered encumbrances
When a third party holds a claim of some sort to the property, either financial or non-financial, your use of the property is limited.
- Unknown easements
It’s possible that even once you own the property, an unknown easement could dictate how you use the land, or even allow other entities to access your property.
- Boundary disputes
Inconsistencies in surveys can lead to conflicts with neighbors who may claim ownership to portions of your property.
As if buying a home wasn’t stressful enough, this list doesn’t help. The good news is that title insurance gives you the peace of mind that any baggage that comes with your property’s history won’t follow you or put your legal rights to it at risk in the future.
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.