So you have been house hunting, negotiated a price, and have an accepted offer to purchase your new home. Congratulations! Now begins the all-important task of getting to closing. You will meet a lot of new people who will help gather documents, especially if you are financing your purchase by using a mortgage.
What is a title?
The title to a property is the document that shows who actually owns it. If you have a car loan, chances are the bank’s name is on the title until the loan is paid. With a home, your name as the homeowner is on the title even if you have a mortgage. That means that the previous owner was previously on the title. During the sale, they are removed and you are added to the title.
But what if there is an old title?
The lender (and you, of course) want to make sure that when you purchase the home from the seller, no one else can come out of the woodwork to claim that they are the actual owner. This is where a title agent comes in. This person does a lot of research and provides a lot of documents to make sure that the title is clean, meaning that there are not multiple potential owners or multiple copies of the title floating around, and that everything is in compliance with the law. They also provide insurance that will financially compensate those involved, should any claims of competing ownership be made.
It is important to read and understand all documents related to the title and title insurance when making a new home purchase. The title agent is a great resource to answer questions.