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If you are looking to purchase a property of any kind, you are going to want to have some basic knowledge about the importance of property titles. 

Overall, a title is a legal document that includes specific information about a given property that you are purchasing and who legally owns it. Often, a property title comes in the form of a deed. 

Typically, a title search will be completed prior to closing on a property and this is just a little information about the necessary legal research that takes place before a property is closed on.

Title insurance is very important

Once you are under contract on a house, one of the very first things that you are going to want to do is purchase title insurance. The two types are the owner’s title insurance and lender’s title insurance. 

This type of insurance will protect the owner if a problem is found after the title search is completed. The insurance company can also provide crucial legal assistance and will pay for any valid claims. 

What’s the prior claim?

The prime thing that a title investigator is going to look for is for any claims to the title that could impact your purchase. The search will include looking through public records and spans across many years. 

You might be surprised to learn that over one-third of all title searches actually uncover some kind of issue. Here are the most common types of issues that the title researchers find. 

  • The previous owner failed to pay state or local taxes 
  • A contractor was not paid for work completed
  • Mistakes or omissions in deeds
  • Forgery
  • Undisclosed owners, conflicting wills

How to resolve issues with the title

If it is found that the seller of the property you want to purchase has conflicting ownership with another party, then all the owners must be willing to sign the closing documents before the final sale can be completed. On top of that, any outstanding payments or taxes that have yet to be paid must also be paid at closing before the title is received. Luckily, if you are the purchasing party, you don’t have to really worry about this because it is the seller who is responsible for settling all issues that might exist with the title. 

What you should do with your title

Once you have legally acquired the title to your property, you are going to want to make sure that you keep it safe and sound. In fact, it is recommended that people purchase a safe deposit box at a local bank and keep it there along with any of their other most important and valuable documents. 

With that being said, if you do lose your title, there is no reason why you have to panic. You can simply go to the clerk’s office at your country courthouse where your property is located and request a copy. On top of that, if you have a mortgage on the property, the mortgage banker will also likely have a copy on file. 

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