This article applies to sales of both commercial and residential real estate in Virginia.
What is a title search and why do I need one?
Often times, purchasers of real estate question why they need to pay for a title search. They often wonder why a title search is necessary. After all, the seller seems responsible and honest, right? If you are purchasing real estate, a title search is imperative for a number of reasons. No matter what representations the seller makes, you want to make sure that what they say is true.
One of the recurring themes throughout real estate purchase law is that the buyer must do a due diligence search for problems associated with the real estate. If the buyer does not perform a due diligence search, they may be stuck with any legal burdens on the property.
What does the title search look for?
A title search should be conclusive and thoroughly explore the legal status of the property. It should look for debts on the property including: liens, foreclosure, mortgages, unpaid taxes, etc. Just because the property is sold, it does not mean that any financial burdens or restrictions on the property disappear.
A title search should also be used to ensure that there is a proper chain of title deed between the current and past owners of the property. The last thing you want is to purchase a property only to find out that the seller did not own proper title to the property. This could certainly lead to prolonged litigation and the possibility that you may lose access to the home.
What should I do if I am purchasing a home?
If you are purchasing a home, you should ask your real estate agent or an attorney about the possibility of conducting a title search. Whoever you choose to perform a title search, make sure that someone reviews it with you and that you understand all of the contents. The cost of a title search is minuscule compared to the enormous expense associated with fixing legal problems associated with the title.
I hope that this article has been helpful to you and that you have a smooth transition as the purchaser of real estate. I know that it can be a very stressful time. If you would like to discuss your real estate legal needs, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ryan C. Young | Real Estate Attorney | Richmond, Virginia