A title search is performed by the title company. The search determines if the current owner owns the property free and clear and whether there are any liens and encumbrances that must be satisfied prior to transfer of property ownership.
Transfer of Ownership
The legal instrument used to transfer property ownership from the owner/grantor to the new buyer/grantee is a deed. Deeds are not required to be recorded. Recording a deed in the courthouse records gives the public constructive notice that the property has been sold.
Warranty deeds are used most often to transfer property ownership. The grantor warrants that the property has not been sold to anyone else and is free of encumbrances and liens, that the owner has legal rights to sell the property and that the title is free and clear of any title defects, including defects caused by any prior owners.
Purchasing owner's and lender's title insurance protects the buyer, her heirs and her lender during the loan term against any financial costs, including legal fees to defend any claims from persons claiming an interest in the property that may have been discovered in public records and non-public records.