How to Do a Title Search Abstract

When someone wants to purchase a piece of property, the buyer requests a title search. The search starts with the current property owner and traces the property's chain of title, typically going back 50 years, to guarantee the seller has clear title to the property. A title searcher will search the public records for any liens or encumbrances against the property. The resulting report is called an Abstract of Title.

Use a professional title company. A title researcher will have a working knowledge of title documents and how they are recorded.

Verify the abstract is complete. The researcher will obtain a copy of the abstract from the county recorder's office where the property is located and check for gaps in dates and certification numbers. Certifications attest that the abstract is correct.

Read More: How to Search Property Title Deeds

Conduct a lien search. The researcher may also conduct a credit and finances check against every name appearing in the abstract to see if anyone has filed for bankruptcy or incurred debts that created a lien against the property.

Research the property records at the county recorder's office. All deeds, mortgages and property liens on a parcel of property are a matter of public record, and document the property's history. These documents will be located in different books according to when the paperwork was filed.

Prepare the Abstract of Title. This written report will summarize the property's ownership history and any claims against it, including deeds of trust, easements, judgments, liens, loans, mortgages and real property taxes. The abstract will also show code violations, conveyances, legal descriptions, mortgage details, ownership in succession and property surveys.


  • Don't try this yourself. Use a professional.

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