A deed to a house shows the ownership, however that does not indicate a property’s history. When an abstract title search is done, it may turn up many things that would annul the deed or at least create real problem for a buyer.
Many times, when considering the purchase of a home or even a vacant property, it is important to remember that just as everything else, it will have a history.
Over the years many things may have happened to a property. One of the most important to you, as a buyer, will be to have the assurance that there are no liens against the property.
When a painter does work on a house, or a contractor adds a room or a deck, they have a lien against the property. That’s pretty straightforward. Their lien is the assurance that they’ll be paid for their work.
However, at times the lienholder, i.e. the painter that painted a couple of rooms doesn’t bother to press the lien. The painter may be too occupied to worry about not having been completely paid for his work. Time passes and the owner, not being pressed no longer worries about paying for the work. Or there may have been some dispute about the quality of the work and the owner refused to pay. The lien would still be there.
An Abstract of Title is a written history of a house from the day it was built until the present time. This will indicate sales over the years, changes in the property, constructions such as a second house or a cabin on the property without the owner having had the proper permits.
That being the case, the county could demand that the owner remove the construction. That happens.
And a forgotten lien may turn up in the abstract, a lien that has been for work for which the workman has never been fully paid. It is important for the buyer not only to have a deed to a property, but to have the abstract of title search completed as well.
There may have disputes between couples over the ownership of a property.
Any and all of these problems create what is known as a “cloud” on the title.
An abstract of title should enable the buyer to check back over the years and determine if there is anything at all to prevent him or her to have clear title to the house before completing the purchase.
You should always have an abstract of title when considering the purchase of real estate. A house is normally the more important purchase we make and when large sums of money are in the balance, you can’t afford to take unnecessary chances.