can I do my own title search? - Posted by jim

Posted by investorrob on February 05, 2002 at 07:45:15:

Jim I have to give you a short answer and hope others here will post as well on this (I am working at a local polling location at 6 this morning> Today we have a vote for school funds.

Go down to the county courthouse where land records are kept you will have to ask your way around. Go in the morning. Then ask the clerk how to do a search for leins on the property. While doing your search you might find some people their that do this every day. They could be the ones that do the legal title searches-- watch which files they pull and how they record and copy this info.

The info was on micro film and you had to find the correct page then slide it in to the viewer.

Hope this helps

The very best of investing to you


can I do my own title search? - Posted by jim

Posted by jim on February 04, 2002 at 21:34:57:

Can I do my own title search? How? Is it labor-intensive or fairly easy? If I can’t do it - or trust myself to do it right - how much does one cost in the Boston area?

Thank you for your help.

It used to be easier to do your own … - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on February 05, 2002 at 16:07:10:

title searches back in the old days.

The clerks would leave at 4:30 and didn’t care how long you stayed searching. Sometimes until midnight.

Today there are armed guards and metal detectors and you can’t touch a book after 4. The newer records are on computers but there are about 50% of the needed computers so you have to wait in line with a number like at the bakery until a machine is freed up and its your turn. Some courthouses have 15 minute time limits on an indivdual’s access to the computer. Other places charge a fee ( called auser fee) to use their system, their computer, and their paper.

David Krulac

Re: can I do my own title search? - Posted by Mark (WV)

Posted by Mark (WV) on February 05, 2002 at 10:02:41:

Yes you can do your own , would you want to ? I doubt it. Some court houses are very helpfull late in the evening (hopeing you will get done so the can leave) some will just come out and say " if you don’t know what you are doing I don’t have time to take you by the hand and show you".

That said, call a couple of Real estate offices and ask who they use for searchs, if they use them it’s for a reason. Cost can run as low as 150 bucks to around 300 for a lawyer or paralegal to do it for you. If they miss something it’s their a** if you miss it’s yours.
Mark (WV)

Re: can I do my own title search? - Posted by investorrob (WA)

Posted by investorrob (WA) on February 05, 2002 at 24:27:55:


The answer is yes you can BUT—some of this answer depends on what you need the title search for. I will assume You only want this for your own information and not for legal requirments. That answer is a big NO. I will tell you how for your own use, a little later down in my post.

In the early 1990’s I would spend most every day in the court house doing searchs on foreclosures. So I know the process.

What you are looking for—are there any other loans besides the 1st is there a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th loan on the property. Are there any Contractors
or other business type Leins. Then Tax Leins County or Federal. Is there a Health or EPA problem that would cloud the title from transfering. Or other insturments (Legal term of paper work) that might be recorded on this property.

Now the county clerk could help you on a day thats not to busy. But are you sure if this is your first one that You want to gamble the cost of a proper title search plus the large atty fees or county fees you will put your self into if you miss one of the items listed above.

Sometimes we do things that is gutsy when we are dollar shy. That will be your call.
Hope this info. helps you makes the call that is right for your case.

The very best of investing to you

Re: can I do my own title search? - Posted by jim

Posted by jim on February 05, 2002 at 07:19:29:

Investorrob, thanks for replying, I appreciate the input. What I need to know is, how exactly, what are the steps? Where do you go? What forms do you ask for? How do I find out if Bob the Builder slapped a lien on this house ten years ago.

Where do I access this info? How do I access this info? More importantly, how do I know I’ve done a thorough job. Basically, I already know WHAT I’m looking for - any and all liens - but I don’t know HOW to find what I’m looking for.

Finally, if it’s too much work to make doing it myself dollar-foolish I’d obviously rather not, which leads to the question: What does it cost?
Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Re: can I do my own title search? - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on February 05, 2002 at 09:41:15:

Hi Jim:

No one knows how your local courthouse organize the records. Its like you asking me if I know where you can find “War and Peace” in your local library. The answer is, its on a bookshelf somewhere in the place, and you have to look it up an index card, or ask the librarian.

Same process in the local courthouse.

Here in New York City where I live, everything is filed but block and lot number. Because I need building violation, C/O info, I go to the buildings department first to get a printout, which they’ll give me, and it’ll have the block and lot information on it.

Then, I proceeed to the record room of the courthouse, another part of town. There is a computer terminal where you get a printout of the property listng the records available the “Reel#” and “index#” on each reel the document is on. Yes, if there’s a lien from 10 years ago, it’ll be there.

Then I have to go to the shelf where the reel is located. Now, just like in a video store, the reel you’re looking for may be out because someone else is looking at it at the moment. So I wait a bit, or walk around the block if its a nice day.

I can’t say if your courthouse is organized this way. So if its your first time, ask someone there. Usually, I run into folks from title companies who goes there, and they can be very helpful.

To alleviate long lines there, people are allowed to do printouts of, as I recall, five properties at a time. If the guy waiting in line behind you is a title company person, they’ll usually sit down at the terminal to get the printout for you to get you out of the way.

Then I proceed to the micro-fiche vewing area. Reading the dcouments are free, but I have to put in coins to print it out, or buy an electronic tag to make many copies.

If you need a blow by blow, lead you by the hand example, this is what I have to do. But I don’t know how your courthouse index its records, or whether it is on microfiche or not.

Frank Chin