Let’s say your parents live in a housing complex and a young couple moves in next door. The couple is friendly… your father often mentions them in his conversations.
He calls one day and tells you that the couple has duped him—they sold him a very expensive piece of art installed in their apartment. Upon inquiry, he finds out that the couple pretended to be the owners of the flat when they were in fact, tenants.
Now, the real owner wants their artwork back and the couple is absconding with your father’s money. Who should be held responsible? What would you do in such a situation?
Mortgage loans can expose you to similar frauds. That’s why you must know everything about the US mortgage title search process. Here’s an overview.
The title search process plays an important role in mortgage lending—it ensures that the property owner has legal rights to sell it—just like the rightful owner should be the one selling commissioned artwork.
Title search is important at the end of a property purchase. The title document specifies the transfer of property from seller to buyer. When homebuyers approach you, the mortgage title search process helps determine whether or not the property has clear titles, so you don’t end up in legal disputes.
What Are the Steps of Mortgage Title Search Process for Lenders
Mitigating title search errors can be expensive. That’s why you must know how to do a mortgage title search. Read on for a step-by-step guide.
As a lender, you face the biggest risk while processing a mortgage loan. Here’s an example: You have recently financed a mortgage loan. Unfortunately, some legal and arbitrary issues surface; shared ownership with a spouse or heir, mental incompetence to process property sale, forgery because of identical names, unpaid installments and so on. Such risks can be avoided by learning what goes on in each step of the title search process.
This step determines the sequence in which the property title is transferred. You can easily access title transfer information from numerous public records available at the recorder’s office and refer to digitized data, tract books or indexed cards to check the property history.
This step determines the current tax status acting against the property. You can investigate it by referring previous years’ records and see if there are any overdue or unpaid taxes. This step also highlights any past or present land evaluation or lien associated with the property—the government usually puts in sale notices to recover unpaid tax.
Next comes inspection. A person investigates the property and prepares a report detailing factors that may impact the mortgage title search process. The investigator also looks for any off-the-record assessment evidence and verifies if the property is occupied by anyone other than the owner.
Judgements against previous owners undergo research and analysis. A property sales order might exist to satisfy these rulings; title rights may also be due because of pending federal taxes. The homebuyer will become liable for the rulings following a title transfer. That’s why the seller should deal with these hassles prior to the transfer of title ownership.
Closing is the last step in the title search process. Once all issues in the title search process are cleared, you can close the mortgage loan process.
All the above steps will help you ensure that the title is free from fraud, unpaid taxes/debts and errors. However, clearing the title search requires meticulous efforts and a thorough understanding of nuances involved. That’s where you can consider outsourcing the title search process—seek help with ordering an examination of the payment obligations, title transfer from seller to buyer and get title insurance.
HelioNext offers title support services to lenders, brokers and small bankers. Do not let the fear of title fraud hold you back. Benefit from our experience of over 15 years in providing end-to-end loan processing services and technology- backed mortgage loan solutions.