Considering Purchasing Real Estate

By: Bobby Carnes

A title search is an absolute necessity if you are going to purchase real estate. Without one, there is no way that you can be certain that the seller even owns the property he is selling to you - so if you "purchase" the property and move in, you might be thrown out years later by the real owner of the real estate. In case you think that's unlikely, consider that many people buy real estate as an investment even though they may live far away. The owner might lease the real estate to someone else trusting him to maintain the property. If the lessee is unscrupulous, he may attempt to "sell" the property, pocket the money, and move to Tahiti or somewhere, leaving you holding the bag when the owner gets back and asks who the heck you are. Yeah, of course you could sue the person who sold you the real estate, but what if you can't find him? Or what if he spent all the money?

Title searches are usually done by lawyers. If you are borrowing money from a bank to finance the purchase, then the bank will certainly have its lawyer do a title search. You should have your lawyer do one too. Even though the title search will likely be done by a lawyer, you should definitely become familiar with what's going on - don't just "leave it to the lawyers". If you have a general idea about what's going on, you'll be able to have an intelligent conversation with your lawyer and you'll be more likely to know early if there's any malpractice going on. You'll also have a better idea about how competent your lawyer really is (not all of them are smart!)

Your title search should also cover any mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances that may have been put on the real estate you are considering purchasing - it would be a shame to purchase a home and then have the bank foreclose on it because the previous owner mortgaged it and didn't pay it off.

DISCLAIMER: The following is offered for reference purposes only and does not consititute legal advice.

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