Preliminary Title Reports – Tips on What to Watch For

The title report contains important records available to potential buyers. Title companies compile the report from publicly available county records to document ownership, vesting and details regarding any liens, encroachments or easements against the home.

Here are three important pieces of the title report you should review carefully:

1. The legal description will provide you with a precise written description of the property’s location and the boundaries of the property in relation to nearby streets and intersections. This section is especially interesting in cases of a condominium or planned unit development (PUD) as it will include the property’s interest in any common areas, exclusive or non-exclusive easements and details on any parking or storage that are included with the property. 

2. Property taxes show up as the primary lien on the report. Keep in mind property cannot be transferred to a new owner with outstanding taxes due. The report will disclose if taxes are due or paid in full.

3. Additional mortgage liens are listed directly below property taxes in order of largest to smallest amount owed. When a home sells, all liens must be paid in the order that they appear on the title report. Be cautious however — this list is not exclusive, as other items could show up on a title report outside of taxes and loans (e.g., easements; covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs); historic oversights, etc.).

A Word to the Wise

To properly cover your bases in the home buying process you, your agent or a real estate attorney should thoroughly review the entire preliminary title report. A careful review could help prevent delays during the closing process. 

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