What’s Included In a Title Search?

If you’re thinking about buying a house, a title search is one step you can’t skip. A title search can reveal issues about a property that even the current owners might not be aware of.

Why a title search is a must

Nearly all property lots in the Sacramento area have a history (some of it very interesting), and if you don’t know yours, it could end up costing you a lot. 

You must find out if the title is legal

It’s rare but not entirely unknown for people to forge title deeds. In other cases, deeds become void because they were made by a minor, someone who was ruled to be “not in sound mind,” an illegal immigrant, or someone claiming to be single when they were legally married.

Heirs could be missing

If a previous owner died, the property may have transferred to their heirs without anyone realizing it. If there are heirs, and if they do become aware of the property, you could have a legal battle on your hands.

The property could have unknown issues 

Whether a former owner failed to pay taxes or took out a loan with their home as collateral, you need to know whether claims exist on the property. Otherwise you might end up responsible. In other cases, properties come with covenants or easements that restrict your rights as property owner, and these can be buried too deeply to find in a quick scan.

What is included in a title search?

Public records. The most important place to start is with public records. Using Go Look Up, you’ll be able to access court records, tax assessor information, the name and information of the current rightful owner of the property, and county records from surveyors and recorders of deeds.

Public records searches show you who has the right to sell, whether there are any extant heirs, whether there are any liens against the property, and whether there are unpaid taxes and fees. 

Previous sale and repair records. It’s good to know who has owned the property and what kind of issues may have come up with it in the past. Through your title search, all that comes to light, giving you the information need to make decisions and giving you a better understanding of the property’s history.
Zoning and usage restrictions. When you’re looking to buy in a place such as Sacramento, zoning and easement restrictions can be serious barriers to buying a property. Zoning ordinances will restrict what you can make of a piece of property, and a title search may also discover unexpected rights issues.

For example, the power company may have the right to install a pole on your land for power lines, or the gas company may have the right to dig at any time with fair warning. If you know the possibilities, you can make better plans and won’t be in for any unpleasant surprises.

What if I’m trying to sell and having title issues?

Depending on the concern, you might have trouble attracting private buyers. Look for companies that advertise “we buy houses in Sacramento.” Professional flippers are expert at understanding whether a title issue is going to be a problem and finding quick ways to get it sorted out.

Using a flipping company, you can get a fair price, in cash, on the table quickly. If you need to sell your property quickly or don’t have the money and time to work out a title issue or make major repairs, a flipper could be your best choice.

Whether you’re buying or selling, a title search is important to understand the full history and status of any property. Use your title search to make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision about a property.