You’ve found the property of your dreams, and you can hardly wait to get the keys to the front door. You’ve done your research, so you know title insurance is an important, even vital part of the purchase process: it will alert you to any title defects and protect you from unforeseen problems, such as liens, easements, property ownership questions or deed restrictions. You’ve found a title insurance company you know and trust (it is your choice, after all!). But with all of the steps that buying a property requires, you may wonder: when is the right time to order title work?
It’s an excellent question and one that is frequently asked. The best time to order title work on a property is as soon as an offer is accepted. Your Realtor or mortgage lender will likely take the lead and order the title work on your behalf. When both buyer and seller have signed the purchase contract, a copy of the contract should be delivered to your title company.
As the buyer of the property, all defects that are found will be disclosed to you, and you will have the opportunity to determine whether you have any objection to the defects that are uncovered. Sometimes title defects can be rectified, for example, if a homeowner had a home equity loan with a small remaining balance, and they are prepared to pay that off. But occasionally, title defects can arise that make it impossible for you to use and enjoy the property as you intend. It’s an unfortunate event, but one that makes many would-be buyers grateful for the coverage and peace of mind that they get through title insurance.
Title work takes some time, as you might expect. A title insurance company must research the property’s history, looking through wills, trusts and deeds, to uncover any title issues that date back through the property’s history. The search can be long and involved, and may include computer-based research or manual research, depending on how records for that property have been kept over the years. Ordering title work as soon as an offer is made and accepted, allows the title insurance company the time they need to conduct an exhaustive search of those records, so you can feel confident when you purchase the property.
Most importantly, it’s good to know that even if something lurks in the history of the property you are purchasing and it doesn’t surface in the research, your title insurance will cover your losses. So order the title work right away, and you can get back to the excitement and anticipation of getting the keys to the front door.