In real estate business and law, a title search or property title search is the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of a piece of real property, to determine relevant interests in and regulations concerning that property.
In the case of a prospective purchase, a title search is performed primarily to answer three questions regarding a property on the market:
- Does the seller have a saleable and marketable interest in the property?
- What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land? These would include real covenants, easements and other equitable servitudes.
- Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing? These would be mortgages, back taxes, mechanic’s liens, and other assessments.
- A title search is also performed when an owner wishes to mortgage property and the bank requires the owner to insure this transaction.