What Are the Differences Between Title Abstracts & Title Searches?

New Door Blog Posts
A title search and abstract are needed if you plan on buying a property. Without them, you risk not having a clear understanding of the purchase. Given how critical these records are, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about them below.

What Is a Title Abstract?

Simply put; title abstracts are the history of a property’s ownership. This also includes any significant assets related to it such as transfers, legal actions against its properties. A title abstract continues to the point of the original land grant. Or, to the point where records are not available.

Importance of a Title Abstract

Purchasers and investors need a title abstract to ensure it’s clear of any liens or levies. Otherwise, this could create huge trouble for creditors or other parties if the title abstract is not ‘clear.’ That’s because creditors or other parties could claim partial ownership in it if there are outstanding financial or legal responsibilities. So, for any real estate transaction, it’s critical that the potential buyers obtain and review a copy of the abstract. This will firmly establish who the property owner is.

What Is in the Abstract?

It’s standard for the abstract of title, to begin with, the initial grant deed of the property. Then, it will include all changes in ownership and any additional claims, easements, encroachments, encumbrances, liens, litigations, restrictions, and tax sales on it. An example of when an unclear title could occur is if the home has unresolved building code violations, outstanding mortgage payments, or debt.

What Is a Title Search?

A title search slightly differs when compared to the abstract. This is because it is a full examination of all public records on the property. These records will also help confirm a property’s ownership status and to find out if there are any claims, liens, judgements, or unpaid taxes. The reason why this is needed is that an ‘unclean’ search can make buying or owning the land more expensive than you intended it to be or than you can afford. It’s important to note that for most real estate transactions, the search needs to be ‘clear.’ But there is good news for buyers. You can always purchase title insurance to protect yourself from potential losses if the title does have problems.

Who Does the Search?

Seeing as the search is more of an in-depth analysis, they are typically done by a title company or an attorney. Additionally, lenders or other entities might request a search on the property to verify its ownership. But this is usually done before a loan or other credit approval. These records are also not easy to find. The records are usually kept in a county property appraiser’s office, in the county’s public records, or the surveyor’s records and can stretch back decades.

How Is The Search Done?

To conduct the search, we always recommend using a title company or attorney who will be better equipped to gather all public records and legal documents. Plus, given that the search requires the review of legal records, it is not recommended for potential buyers to conduct a search on their own. These documents can be confusing, and gaining access to all the public records can be difficult. Partnering with a professional like us at New Door Property Transfer means our dedicated team will do all the heavy lifting for you. Meaning, we will carefully analyze and gather all the information on your behalf. Thus, eliminating any stress and confusion before purchase.

What Happens If The Search Is Not ‘Clean’?

After the search is complete, and before a property is purchased, you will receive a preliminary title report. Just like the search, this process is best to be handled by a professional. That’s because, if there are any issues, you can point them out to the seller. So, if there are discussions or negotiations that need to be had, you’ll have professional representation. Ultimately, a title search and an abstract are needed if you plan on buying a property. Without them, you risk not having a clear understanding of the purchase. As always, we recommend having these documents reviewed by a professional. Our staff will make sure you get to the closing table without any headaches, so you know exactly what it is you’re buying. For more information on how we can help, call us at 610 -549-4129 or email us at info@newdoorpt.com today.

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