Conducting a title search in Indiana involves performing a detailed inspection of the public and historical records for a property. You can do the search yourself online or in person, or hire a professional to do it if you prefer. This type of search is usually done to verify ownership, to make sure the seller is allowed to transfer the property to someone else and to ensure that there are no outstanding encumbrances on the title, such as a judgment. There are several ways you can accomplish this search.
The Direct Approach
Check your county's website to see what information is available on the property before you even go to the office. For instance, the Howard County office in Kokomo, Ind., allows you to search for property information under a name, property address, parcel number, or subdivision. The site can then provide the current owners contact information, purchase date, value, whether taxes are up-to-date, and detailed information on the property size and amenities. The Lake County website can also give information on voluntary liens, building permits, and a property history.
Search in Person
If an online search doesn't yield the results you'd hoped for, visit the county records office where the property is located to obtain a copy of all documents on the title. Indiana has 92 counties that act independently of one another. A title search may require at least one of the following:
- Property address
- Owner's full name
- An assessor's lot or parcel number, commonly known as an APN
Use a Title Search Company
Alternatively, hire a professional title search company that is licensed in Indiana to do the title research for you. For a listing of companies in Indiana, visit NationalRelocation.com. This website will give the name and contact information of the company, as well as the name of the owner. Or contact Accufast, which can search a title in any of Indiana's 92 counties in 48 hours; services can be conducted via phone, fax or email. Another Indiana based title search company is the Metropolitan Title Company, with services available through its website or in person at 14 locations throughout the state. Searches typically cost around $100.
Hire a Real Estate Attorney
Hire a real estate attorney who can perform a title search and is knowledgeable about how to fix any defects that may arise on the title. This is the most thorough approach, and the safest if you have reason to believe the title might be contested. On the downside, it's also likely to be the most costly alternative. The Indiana Bar Association can provide a referral service through each county's local bar, with links provided on their website.