Why Title Searching Should Be Left to the Professionals

title searching

Lending institutions usually require a professional title search and insurance if they’re financing your property. If you don’t need financing or are pursuing private or seller financing options, you will have to decide: Do I spend the extra money to have a professional title searching done, or do I try to DIY it?

Title searching is performed when a title company or attorney checks deeds, land records, tax liens, title encumbrances, bankruptcy records, and court orders to identify any judgments or claims against the property. While this seems relatively straightforward, it can be complicated for trained title professionals and almost impossible for someone conducting their ad hoc process, and here’s why:

1. Relationships
While most titles are found without issues, the problem titles can challenge even the most seasoned title professional. Many problems stem from human error that could have occurred yesterday or 40 years ago.

Part of title searching is locating the errors, no matter how old, so they can be resolved without causing problems later. A professional has the tools and processes to search a vast number of public records efficiently. A well-established title company has access to public records, trusted relationships and local knowledge built over time to help solve complex title issues.

2. Experience Required!
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, as the saying goes. This applies to trying to do your own title searching. Finding the records is only about 20% of the challenge. The other 80% is knowing what the documents say when looking at them.

Most property documents are written for surveyors, attorneys, and banks. The documents assume you have a certain level of operational knowledge. Discounting industry experience will leave you making mistakes a professional would easily avoid.

As with many things, when you’re starting out, the problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know. And unfortunately, the things you don’t know in the title world can come back and cause serious problems for you. Professional experience matters when it comes to title searching!

3. Historical Knowledge of Local Rules, Regulations, and Quirks
Title companies that have been around the longest know their way around the intricacies of their local title market. They can offer a wealth of current and historical information to help solve complicated title issues. In New Jersey and elsewhere, it is critical to have in-depth knowledge and experience of the local title market and title searching to keep the transaction moving forward quickly, efficiently, and accurately.

4. Process Backed by Insurance
Title searching is insured with title insurance. Most lenders will require title insurance to protect themselves against potential issues. If you skip a title search and the title insurance, you are effectively self-insuring. This may seem like a good idea until the day you have to sell the property. Most people won’t purchase a property without knowing the title is clear. Getting a property title search done and then taking out title insurance will help protect your investment and make it easier to sell.

For more than 50 years, Cortes & Hay has been providing title searching services to the greater New Jersey area. Our experienced staff can help navigate your title insurance needs across the entire state. Contact us today to speak with a professional about title insurance for your property.