web sites/books on title search - Posted by Nancy PA --CA

Posted by Brent_IL on October 16, 2003 at 01:19:49:

The buyers here traditionally pay for title insurance also. The purchase contract is what determines if tradition will hold. They pay for it because that’s whom the contract says will pay for it. Few people read the contract in its entirty; fewer still understand what they read.

web sites/books on title search - Posted by Nancy PA --CA

Posted by Nancy PA --CA on October 14, 2003 at 21:13:56:

I’ve made a few trips to deed recording office at the court house trying to learn title search. I was able to learn how to use the system quickly, be able to pull out informaitons on owner, recorded documents such as morgages,deeds and other transactions. However, the real challenge is understanding these documents, learning what to look for to ensure the title is clear, make sure there’s not hidden liens or other problems…

People at the recording office are not helpful. I asked questions to title company folks there, they are nice in showing me how to use the system, but when it comes to the real “technical” questions, no one is willing to answer.

I did some search on the internet, couldn’t find much info on doing title search. Does any one have any resources? I am thinking of getting a job at a title company, but it’ll be better if I have some knowledge before I apply.


Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by micheleCO.

Posted by micheleCO. on October 17, 2003 at 12:13:10:

Here’s a link:
He sells a good book on how to do all this. www.infoleverage.com
I think it’s around $40.

Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by tony

Posted by tony on October 15, 2003 at 20:50:18:

Take a class in title. Many of the local community colleges have the in their continueing ed. division. In my state…its 40 hrs. You get license with the state and everything.

Reading title takes time to learn…but no rocket science.

Get a list of the codes from the public records division. Read and Learn the codes and following chronologically. Of course, the records at the court house won’t tell you everything…OR You may miss something.

Don’t forget the federal courthouse too. Tax liens etc.

Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on October 15, 2003 at 14:33:48:


Is the title search part of your system for finding deals?

The reason I’m asking is that when I negotiate a deal, I make a working assumption that what the seller is telling me about the existing liens is true. Among other contingencies, the purchase contract is subject to clear title. Most purchase agreements require the seller to provide marketable title.

If you only get a title search on properties actually under contract, the number is more manageable. One of the contingencies that I use is a review of a long list of documents. I require the sellers to deposit a preliminary title report into escrow for my acceptance. They pay for the title insurance when it?s issued, anyway.

I use the contract to postpone consideration of anything other than the financing terms that I?m using to purchase until after I have a signed deal. I can concentrate on negotiating the deal without additional title worries. If something does show up, and in the unlikely event it isn’t covered in the purchase contract, we renegotiate, or they exercise their option to cancel by paying a fee. Deal-stopping problems aren’t that frequent. I know that the time wasted negotiating deals that don’t close is minuscule compared to the time I would spend doing records searches.

If you are using the public records to locate a particular type of seller, this might not work out for you.

thank you all ! - Posted by nancy PA-- CA

Posted by nancy PA-- CA on October 15, 2003 at 12:09:06:

Thank you all for your help! I understand the importance of getting the title search/ insurance from a professional and will never buy a house without one. I just feel the need to know some basics to help me make initial judegement to pick out good deals and know what to negotiate for. I can’t affort title search on every potiential deal. Your advice is very helpful, I’ll go back to the court house tomorrow to try some out.
thanks again!


HUMOR - Posted by Eric - GA

Posted by Eric - GA on October 15, 2003 at 07:47:55:

I had heard about this…thought it would add to the discussion:

Some years ago, a New Orleans lawyer sought a direct Veterans Administration loan for a client. He was told that the loan would be approved if he could provide proof of clear title to the property offered as collateral. The title for the property in question was complicated and he spent a considerable amount of time reviewing all pertinent documents back to 1803. Satisfied with the depth and expanse of his examination, he submitted the information to the VA.

He soon received a reply from the VA.:

“We received your letter today enclosing application for a loan for your client, supported by abstract of title. The application forms are complete, but you have not cleared the title before the year 1803. Therefore, before full review and possible approval can a be accorded the application, it will be necessary that the title be cleared back before that year.”

Annoyed, the lawyer wrote the V.A.:

"Your letter regarding titles in case #9378329 received. I note that you wish titles extended further back than I have presented. Your attention is invited to the following information to update your records for the property prior to 1803:

a) I was unaware that any educated person would not know that the United States gained clear title to Louisiana from France in 1803. This title transfer was a result of a real estate transaction known as The Louisiana Purchase.

b) France gained clear title to Louisiana by right of conquest from Spain under the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800).

c) The land came into the possession of Spain by right of discovery in 1492 by a sailor named Christopher Columbus. He was acting on behalf of Isabella, Queen of Spain, and had her permission to claim newly discovered lands for Spain.

d) The good Queen, being a pious woman and careful about titles - almost as careful as the V.A.- took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before authorizing the voyage.

e) The Pope is a servant of God; God created the world.

f) Therefore, I believe that it is safe to presume that God created title that part of the world called Louisiana and thus was the original holder of the property in question.

title search inPennsylvania - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on October 15, 2003 at 06:21:19:

pros usually go back 60 years, sometimes 100 years. some counties are easier to search than others. some are computerized, one that I know of is computerized for deeds and mortgages back to 1934. other counties have no computers.

be sure to check the Prothonotary’s Office in addition to the Recorder of Deeds. At Protho you will find judgements, liens, federal tax liens, secured transactions, etc. If you don’t know what secured transactions are, that’s a good reason not to do it yourself.

bottom line hire a professional to insure than you don’t make a costly mistake.

David Krulac
Central Pennsylvania

Title Search… - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on October 15, 2003 at 24:48:14:


You need to learn to use your counties websites or offices, to do an accurate title search. I would never recommend to anyone that they rely on something that they find anywhere else by the official county records… I know there are websites that profess to have accurate data… but there is NO guarentee.

Irwin makes a good point… Use professionals… Sure, go ahead and learn how to do one, but don;t go out and make a purchase based on that info… until you employ a professional… whose opinion, should they be wrong, is guarenteed via title ins… (or E & O Ins).

What you are searching for is to verify that each and every transfer that has occured in the past 40 or 50 years, the deed has been executed properly. All parties on title at the time of the sale, signed the deed. If dower rights exist in your state, then making sure that the spouse who was not on title, also signed the deed. You are making sure that each time the title transferred that the previous mtg was released, and that there were no liens against the property owner at the time of transfer… etc, etc.

You see, there are many, many things to check and re-check. I know how to do one, and many times will do a preliminary search to see if there are any huge red flags that would keep the title from being transferrable… or as is referred to as Marketable Title… Once I determine that there are no blockades that are easily found, then I call in the professionals…

Not a direct answer to what you are looking for, but good advice… nonetheless.

Just the way that I view things…


Searching Title - Posted by Irwin

Posted by Irwin on October 14, 2003 at 22:04:16:

It’s been years since I’ve posted or replied here. It’s good to see that the CRE News Group is still going strong.
To answer your question Nancy, the best you can do by searching title yourself is to look for what isn’t there. You find a deed to the people who claim to own it. You find a mortgage to XYZ Mortgage company which they told you was there. The taxes are paid. So far, so good. You don’t want to find any more than that and if you do, unless it’s something fairly simple, like a mechanics lien, IMHO you shouldn’t be trying to interpret it. This is the realm of professional services that r/e investors have to bite the bullet and pay for from time to time. An experienced title examining attorney is the proper person to do that. He/She will even guarantee that they know the correct answer by insuring your title.
The best use of your time is searching for deals, so it’s best (and safest) to let the title work be done by the people who are trained to do it.

Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by pete(AR)

Posted by pete(AR) on October 14, 2003 at 21:21:46:

Look for liens. Mechanic liens will “stick” to title and must be cleared up before clear title can be had. Also, look for delinquent taxes to be paid. Look for mortgages and also look for judgements that could against the people that have title to the property. that is all you have to look for. most people make it harder than it is. i was the same way when i first started out. don’t overanalyze. go out there and make the deals. i wasted so much time over the past couple months over such issues.

don’t let rei frighten you!! good luck

Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by Nancy PA-- CA

Posted by Nancy PA-- CA on October 15, 2003 at 22:30:33:

I’m very new at this. I attended a few foreclosure auctions and wanted to learn a little more about the process. I don’t have a system yet, I’m just trying to get a feel about different ways of finding deals and analysing deals. I know foreclosure is not for beginners like myself, but it’s just my curiosity and desire to learn a little more. After I gained experience and knowledge, may be I will try to locate deals using public records.

Your detailed explaination is a great help. Having a cancel option for a fee is a good idea. In PA, it is mostly the buyer pays for title insurance, asking the seller pay it will be nice. Thanks again!

Re: Title Search… - Posted by Andy Light (MI)

Posted by Andy Light (MI) on October 15, 2003 at 02:23:25:

What JT posted is absolutely correct. I always bring a note pad and write down every mortgage and deed transfer. When i see a release of the mortgage i put a big check next to it. I always go back 50 years (if i can)Some i can do in a little time, others take longer. but like JT said ALWAYS get title insurance.

Would you drive without insurace? Sure u may drive safe but things can jump out at ya. Well same thing here, everything might look good but something will jump out at you if you don’t get it.


Re: web sites/books on title search - Posted by Nancy PA --CA

Posted by Nancy PA --CA on October 14, 2003 at 21:50:56:

Pete, thanks for your advice!