Posted by Kristine-CA on July 25, 2003 at 01:29:27:
First, a question: Where are you located where title insurance costs 2-3K? For what property values? The minimum policy here is about $400.
One thing that title companies will do (which you can do too) is get signed statements of personal information from the owners. And they will find all kinds of liens and judgments that you wouldn’t find if you didn’t have this information. For example, using other names and addresses and dbas of the owners will often show other recorded docs.
Regarding other liens that you won’t find at the recorder’s office: Most property tax defaults and special assessments are not recored docs per se, but are public information. Also, in some areas, certain utilties run with the property. For example, water bills.
In my opinion, title insurance is a necessity and unless you like the research, I don’t advise that you do it yourself. It’s essentially a waste of your time unless you don’t think you will ever be needing lender funds or selling the property. There is a lot more to worry about besides liens. The chain of title may look good to you, but unless you are really good at reading deeds and legal descriptions and checking for the same details that title insurer underwriters are checking, you could be buying something that a title company will not insure without some kind of deed corrections, etc.
Title insurers are insurance companies and are just like the rest of the insurance industry. They write whatever policies and requirements they please and will do just about anything these days to avoid a claim. Why second guess them?
So, if you plan to re-sell or ever finance the property, I strongly suggest title insurance.