How A Property Title Search Could Impact Real Estate Closings

Congratulations! You’re at the end of the process to purchase a prime piece of real estate in Florida you’ve had your eye on. But before you close, you need to dot some t’s and cross some i’s. A property title search will be a key part of that process.

A property title search is the act of clarifying exactly who owns the property and whether or not there are any barriers that would prevent you from cleanly purchasing and claiming ownership of it. Most real estate purchases will require this. The search can be smooth and verify the seller’s claim to whole ownership, but it can also become a headache if the search exposes liens against the property or a conflicting claim of ownership. A thorough search will also consider technical issues such as sewage or street conditions, as well as restrictions like construction, pets, and vehicles permitted on the property.

Let’s look more in-depth at those possible outcomes and how they would impact your closing process.

The search finds no issues

Not only is this the desired outcome, but it’s also the most common. An attorney or title company will search all legal records to verify there are no liens, claims, or even boundary disputes on the property you’re purchasing. If this search reveals no issues it will make the closing process smoother for everyone involved.

The search finds a lien or unpaid debt

Remaining debts on a property could include a lien (these are common if work has recently been done to the home and contractors weren’t paid in full), unpaid property taxes, homeowner’s association dues, or other costs that will need to be paid ahead of closing or outlined in closing documents.

In some cases, a construction lien won’t need to be paid in full before closing. However, who takes responsibility for those debts and how they will be paid off in a timely manner will need to be laid out clearly before a purchase can take place. For taxes, those must be paid before closing can take place and a seller can ask you to take responsibility for them. You should only agree to take on the taxes if you feel as though it’s within your budget and does not far exceed the original value of the property.

The search finds previously undisclosed limitations

A property title search may turn up some issues such as needed sewage improvements or even simple limitations like an HOA agreement on pet types, the types and number of vehicles permitted on a property/street, or limits on construction you can do on the property. These can be frustrating, but there are times when it works to your advantage, as well. You can leverage these issues into the final cost of a property if the previous owner failed to disclose them initially.

These are unlikely to get in the way of closing unless a survey indicated the property should not change ownership prior to a remedy being found. This can be true for major sewage, or other construction needs. Otherwise, you can move forward with closing as long as you’re comfortable with the discovered limitations.

Let us search for you

An experienced real estate attorney can make sure the property title search is thorough and leaves no stone unturned. The Law Offices of Ray Garcia, P.A. brings the experience you need to get the process moving forward and done right. Contact us today and let us walk you through the process of landing real estate in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties!