The very simple answer is that your title company searches and reviews the property history, addresses the “discoveries” and tackles the “problems” that the search and review process may reveal.
Any “simple” answer and description is just that — simple. Actually, the title company process is thorough, consequential and complex. Every home that you viewed and considered has a history. The title company’s responsibility is to track the history of the specific home you have chosen and make sure that the title to that home is clear.
Many residential properties have had multiple owners, so it is not surprising that in the process of transferring property from seller to new owner, oversights in the documentation may show up. Perhaps somewhere in the history of the residential property that you want to own there is a missing signature, unclear documentation of a dispute or other matters. Your title company is charged with the responsibility of searching the property’s history for accuracy, identifying anything that is not in order, investigating the facts and determining the remedies.
Before the property can be legally transferred to its new owner, any problems in its history must be handled. There may have been minor disputes concerning a property line, a private driveway serving more than one property or a common-use easement. There might be an unresolved mechanics lien or tax lien on record. The Health Department comes into the picture concerning water quality standards. You may be buying a property that is owned by multiple family members who are involved in disputes; or, the owners may be in the process of divorce. Whatever turns up in the “title search,” is going to be good news. That’s right. What you want is for your title company to discover and rectify any mistakes, oversights or even illegalities — before you assume ownership.