How To Do Your Own Title Search (With or Without Title Insurance) – Training Tutorial


– [Seth] Hey everybody, this
is Seth from LandTipster.com. How’s it going? Today, I’m just going to show
you a really quick overview of how to do a title search. Now before we get into
this, I just want to explain to everybody, when you
do your own title search, you have to know a thing or two. It’s not, I wouldn’t really recommend this if this is the first land
deal you are ever doing. If this is just your first
time dipping your toe in the water, I would
strongly suggest doing your first or second deal
through a title company and getting an actual, full-blown
title insurance policy. Because, as you’re gonna
see in a couple of minutes as I go through this, there’s
actually a lot of ins and outs and random things you have
to know and you have to have a really good eye and kind of
an analytical mind in order to successfully do your own
title search, and really know what to look for and
spot problems and things that are going to be an issue. So, the whole idea of a
title search, really the whole point of this is
just, you want to make sure that the person you’re
buying this property from actually owns the property. There’s nothing that we call
a break in the chain of title. And a break in the chain
of title is when, you know, over the years and years
and decades and centuries that a property changes hands
from one owner to the next, there has to be a very
clear distinction, you know. Person A sold it to person
B, person B sold to person C, person C sold to person D. Not any skips or issues
where you see the deed for person A to person B
and then it skips a bunch of people and then all
of a sudden you see this random person E selling to person F. You want to be able to
clearly understand what is happening over the years as
a property changes hands. And that is really what a
title search is, in essence. There’s definitely others
things that can come up, other issues that can jump out at you, if you’re looking for them. Things like finding mortgages that you didn’t know were there,
or liens on the property. But, really just basic
overview that’s what you’re trying to do. Just to give you an example,
if you order your own title search from an
abstractor, or a title company, usually this is what you’re gonna see. And what they’ll do is,
they’ll scan in all of the relevant deeds and
recorded documents that are either outstanding, or
anything like that, over the past 40 years. And you can tell them to
go further back in time, if you want, but the typical
approach is 40 years. And that’s usually what
you’ll end up getting. So this is just one of
many properties that I have bought over the years. And when I ordered a
title search for this, this is what I got. It was this, basically
just long pdf document, actually I shouldn’t say it was long, it was only four pages. But it’s really just all
of the deeds that changed hands over the past 40 years. And the reason there’s
only four pages is because over the past 40 years there
weren’t that many transfers. It was a relatively simple deal. But, this right here, is
the oldest deed of record, not of record, but
within the past 40 years. And as you can see, it was sold from a Charlevoix Land Company,
seen right there to American Central Corporation. So basically what happened
here was this company here bought a ton of land in
Michigan and they sold a huge chunk of it,
like dozens of parcels, to this other company. It actually kinda happens fairly often. I’ve seen this, it’s a pretty common thing that happened back in the day. As you can see here, in
the legal description of the property they just list all these different lot numbers. That basically means that
they sold a lot of properties from one company to another. Okay, that’s fine. Now, if we were really looking closely. If we knew exactly which
lot number ours was, we would find it in here
and verify, Okay yes, this particular lot was
sold from this company to this company and that’s
why it’s listed on here. Now going on to the next one. This right here is when
our particular property in question was sold from
the big, massive land company to these people here,
Thomas and Lois Weir, husband and wife. And this happened back in 1973, as you can see right there. Good, you know, that’s good to know. As a matter of fact,
Thomas Weir is the person that we ended up buying
this property from. Right there you can track that
American Central Corporation, who is the buyer on the previous
transaction, they’re now selling it to Thomas and Lois Weir. So good, everything’s still tracking. Now you go to the next most
recent deed and you see that Thomas and Lois Weir,
husband and wife, are transferring the property
to the name of their trust. So the Thomas E Weir
and Lois M Weir Trust. That’s okay, that’s all
good, ’cause as long as Thomas E Weir, the seller’s
here are the same as the buyers in the previous
deed, we should be all set. And really, this is what
you would call a clear chain of title. Notice how, as we went
through here there were no mortgages that popped up. There were no liens, you know. There were no outstanding tax forfeitures or anything like that. It was just one deed after
another and we were able to track from seller to
buyer to seller to buyer. So, this is what you want to
see and, particularly, whenever you get a lead or a call or
you’re working with a seller who’s trying to sell their
property to you, if you’re doing your own title search,
this is what you want to make sure you’re
seeing, is that the person that you’re talking to is
the person actually listed on this deed. I can’t tell you how many
times I’ve run across issues where if Thomas had died,
and for whatever reason their son or daughter, or heir of
some sort, picked up the tax bill and had this idea
that they suddenly owned the property just because
they started paying the taxes. Well, it doesn’t work that
way, it has to legally transfer from Thomas and Lois to whoever is gonna own it next. And there needs to be evidence
of that in this title search. So, that’s just definitely something you’ll want to make sure of. In that instance, for
example, what you would want to see is a copy
of the death certificate of these two people and
letters of authority. Now letters of authority
grant basically another person the authority to
sell this property on their behalf after they die. So that’s just one example. I mean, you can’t just
have somebody come up to you and say Hey, I
want to sell you this property when they’re
not listed on the deed. There has to be some kind
of explanation there. And again, this is the
kind of thing, if this is your first or second
title search, I don’t expect you to know all this stuff. I certainly didn’t when
I started doing this. I really had to kind of
figure it out myself and ask a lot of questions. Maybe one thing that you could do, I mean get your own title insurance
policy and ask them to walk you through
the change of title and explain to you why it’s okay. And they can do that
for you too, and they’ll basically go through the
chain of title just kinda like I did right here. If you ever do find issues
that you can’t answer and if it appears that there
truly is a problem, in those cases, I know it’s hard to say this, but I would suggest you
walk away from the deal. Because the last thing
you want to do is end up with a property that you
don’t really own because the person you bought it
from didn’t really own it. I mean, that’s just, nobody
wants that to happen. It’s just something
you’ll definitely want to watch out for and, again,
that is why when I’m doing my own title
searches, the only reason I ever do them, is when
there’s a property that is just really, really cheap. As you can see, for
example, this property here, back in, well, it’s a
little bit different because they’re selling it to their
trust, but it actually happens frequently when I’m
working with cheap properties, where I’ll see them sold for $100 or $300 or really, really low prices. And those are the kind of
properties when you can buy them for $100 and
sell them for $3,000, just kinda little rinky dink
things to make a couple of grand here and there,
those are the kind of properties where you typically want to do your own title search. And I only say that
because the cost of a title search is usually somewhere
in the neighborhood of $100, depending on who you go to. And, I mean, the cost, of
a title insurance policy and to have a title company
close on the deal, that can be another $500. When you only have a
profit margin of $1,000 or $2,000, I totally understand
the desire to keep those extra costs out of there,
and doing your own title search is one way to do that. Another way you could
do this is to actually go to the county recorders office, or the registrar of deeds, and
actually ask to pull these documents up yourself. That is going to be the ultra
cheap way to go, however, to do that you actually have
to go down there and do it yourself and it takes time. Depending on the situation,
you’re just gonna have to assess whether or not you’re
comfortable doing this on your own, how much you’re
willing to pay, or not pay. I can tell you one thing
for myself, doing these title searches over the
years, it is really, really helped to understand how title work works. Because I can really figure
out when is there an issue, why is it an issue. Just for my own knowledge,
it has just been a really beneficial thing to understand how to research a property’s title. There’s definitely something
to be said for that as well. There’s really a lot to
be covered here and I realize this is a relatively
short video considering how many things there are to
know about a title search, but if you do decide to
tackle this on your own, those are the basic things
you’re gonna wanna look for and watch out for. Thanks for watching and good luck.

Comments 73

  • In a title search, will you be able to see how many insurance policies were executed on a title?

  • Funny how people making videos about Title searches never discuss what exactly a Title is and why a buyer never actually sees a Title to property.

  • Hi Seth Williams. I am a seasoned examiner, pre-bubble relic, And thinking of restarting my old firm.  Curious of marketing potential, I came into You Tube.  When I saw your link "How to do your own Title Search" my jaw dropped.  I thought, who in their right mind would want to take that chance" and then I read your opening blog,  WHEW!  I understand now.  I thought your explanation of the purpose and importance of an examination was terrific.  Articulate and concise.  I subscribed to you!  Thanks

  • thanks so much for the info, can any of this be done online ?  

  • Bypass the bullshit and use the bankers tools… an AVR will provide complete chain including any missing recordings and such..

  • You can do your own online title search for free. Check www.searchq.com and download a property report. For detailed information liens, mortgage, tax and ownership history, search using your home address at www.nextace.com and download a full property report and document images for a small fee.

  • I do my own preliminary title search and report at www.nextace.com website. They are the service provider for most of title insurance companies out there.

  • As a small time RE investor, I have few DIY title searches at nextace . com recently. The website seems meeting my expectations. I only paid 49 bucks for a preliminary title report.

  • There is basic but free title search at www.searchq.com. You can find out for free if the property has lien, tax delinquency, judgment or foreclosure on the title. If you want a detailed property report and copy of documents, you will pay a small fee to get.

  • Good job at making a tough process seem simple.

  • Hello Seth, Excellent video very good information.I am also a cash buyer most of my stuff is run down properties it makes no economical sense using Title company.Can you please make a small video step by step  where i can do closing my self without paying thousands of dollars to these lawyers!!! Also how can i obtain Title insurance
    Gill

  • Seth this will be my first time doing a title search would you recommend a title company that i may be able to used.

  • I have a piece of property that was bought years ago as a camping lot.  I want to turn the property over to the association but they want me to do a title search on it.  What is my best way to proceed

  • ….

  • Well spoken and thoughtful.  Thank you.

  • This doesn't actually help me.

    If the video title is how to do your own title search and the only example given is based on the title search or abstract you've ordered from a tile company/ abstractor, there isn't an answer.

    What is step one through finish of what we are looking for if all we want to do is get historical information about a property in question?

    I know it's risky (stupid) to buy a place without a title search.

    That's not open to debate.

    I want to know how I, personally, can research a property to prequalify; to see if it's a viable lead and something worth pursuing, and ordering a FULL title search afterwards.

  • This video does not show you how to do a Title search at all. It just shows you how to read a Title… Hummm. Not really helpful in that area

  • Thanks for the video!  It is helpful to hear from somebody who has done it numerous times.  It is funny – I picked this video at random, and the deed you are showing is on Beaver Island, where I happen to own a little place!  What are the odds?!

  • I am a professional title examiner and although your video touches on the basics of a search you have left a lot out. You also started with a fairly difficult starting deed due to all the parcels involved. The first step in this search would be to check a tax map or platt map to find the lot in ?. In the explaining the chain of title you did a good job for the general public.

  • Thank you VERY MUCH!

  • Good Video wrong title! It should be called "Things to watch out for when doing your own title search" .

  • PROPERTY DOCUMENTS POLICY 14; BE IT KNOWN THAT THE TITLE DEED IS THE LOWEST PROOF OF OWNERSHIP.  SHOULD THE CLAIMANT HAS AN AWARD NOTICE, THE TITLE DEED CAN BE REVOKE INCLUDING THE TITLE INSURANCE. FOR STRICT IMPLEMENTATION AND PERUSAL.SIGNED BY THE 4 WORLD ORGANIZATION IN 1942

  • Great video.
    Seth sums it up well. 1) clear deed 2) no mortgage outstanding 3) no construction lien

  • My titles I have on my property that was wrongfully foreclosed on are different then the titles in the hall of records even numbers dates it's as the hall of records messed them up date wise and mine are also dated wrong I'm so confused God help me find some one who will take my case and let me pay after suing the banks in Calif

  • This video is very basic. There are unique circumstances in each jurisdiction that you need to familiar with, such as completeness of the local government's computer records, different laws governing different types of liens, title issues arising from court actions, etc. For example, in my jurisdiction, there are records that are not indexed or improperly indexed in the local government's computer database, so unless you knew that and knew where else or even how to search, there may be potential mortgages/deeds of trust, or other liens or title issues that are outstanding. In my case, a forty-year search would be impossible to do online or even on the Recorder of Deeds' computers, since there are analog records (books, microfiche cards, microfilm) that must also be searched.

    Bottom line, you don't always need to use a title company, but there are plenty of free-lance abstractors or title examiners out there. Usually a distressed property means there are underlying issues, many of which may not be apparent to a layman, so it may be worthwhile to pay the couple hundred dollars to hire a good abstractor.

  • every hting u covered in this video,  could i find it in the book   titled,    Big Money in Real Estate Foreclosurs,  author's name is     Ted Thomas.    good video thanks.

  • Thanks for the excellent knowledge on basic house buying safe procedures. EXCELLENT ! I can see by following these steps insures you cannot lose your money !

  • Is doing a.title search absolutely required if trying to determine if there are any easements for a shared driveway? I've already reviewed two adjacent residential property deeds and no language that states there is an easement or appurtentant shared driveway.

  • Do you need to be licensed to do your own real estate closing?

  • flennord smith jr the origional owner of the titles and deeds to west bluff crown center 23 street chiefs stadium pauls burger basket c3po alpha omega top gun robotech welfare and dmv building i am the starter and landlord my private residence is1229 west bluff my permanent roommates are lil munchie dazza and anjanette sandiego chargers kansas city chiefs monopoly car monte carlo choppers then the landlord of pennway federal building. r2d2 sanfrancisco 49 i am alvocado rocket ll cool j 1229 pennway then i go from 1229 and mercier to1229 and whittier boulevard to 1834 jefferson my workmans compensation is 2305 summit blockbuster businesses peas porrage hot peas porrage cold peas porrage in a pot nine days old captain crunch tattoo cadillac price chopper marktwain trademark R teqate crew. to 206 wabash storm shadow bullwinkle dallas cowboys suburban elcamino and baby benz and 63 chevy impala and then back to 1834 jefferson brown raider 64 then power rangers 65 to 206 hyatt mercier mcdonalds. starter. ertl west bluff down aka kilo iam the landlord to monopoly board my private residence is boardwalk and parkplace i built from scratch the monopoly car again my private residence on monopoly is boardwalk and parkplace hyatt and parkplace 4 mansions on each square thats eight in wardparkway. and eight houses in and around the west side

    michael jordan 23street westside the chicago bulls sesame street ernie and bert alvocado colorado mile high 23 street kc mo 64108 city market midwest typewriter from alvocado. community service bulletin to whom it may concernl

  • flennord smith jr the origional owner of the titles and deeds to west bluff crown center 23 street chiefs stadium pauls burger basket c3po alpha omega top gun robotech welfare and dmv building i am the starter and landlord my private residence is1229 west bluff my permanent roommates are lil munchie dazza and anjanette sandiego chargers kansas city chiefs monopoly car monte carlo choppers then the landlord of pennway federal building. r2d2 sanfrancisco 49 i am alvocado rocket ll cool j 1229 pennway then i go from 1229 and mercier to1229 and whittier boulevard to 1834 jefferson my workmans compensation is 2305 summit blockbuster businesses peas porrage hot peas porrage cold peas porrage in a pot nine days old captain crunch tattoo cadillac price chopper marktwain trademark R teqate crew. to 206 wabash storm shadow bullwinkle dallas cowboys suburban elcamino and baby benz and 63 chevy impala and then back to 1834 jefferson brown raider 64 then power rangers 65 to 206 hyatt mercier mcdonalds. starter. ertl west bluff down aka kilo iam the landlord to monopoly board my private residence is boardwalk and parkplace i built from scratch the monopoly car again my private residence on monopoly is boardwalk and parkplace hyatt and parkplace 4 mansions on each square thats eight in wardparkway. and eight houses in and around the west side

    michael jordan 23street westside the chicago bulls sesame street ernie and bert alvocado colorado mile high 23 street kc mo 64108 city market midwest typewriter from alvocado. community service bulletin to whom it may concernl

  • You need to speak up louder Seth.

  • Great information

  • Could you put You Tube for RE Investors for title search (all leins, judgements, and more) please. Thank you.

  • You're supposed to be telling us HOW TO FIND IT!! Not explain what you already have!!

  • so how you search for title as you stated in the title::::::::How To Do Your Own Title Search (With or Without Title Insurance) – Training Tutorial

  • how do you clear liens if the person who owes the debt has died?

  • informative..

  • Thanks Seth…sold info and it definitely helps to try it urself if possible!

  • how does one get into title insurance profession?

  • I believe title search companies need to bonded and insured themselves. I remember the county said they aren't binded so they can't do the search for me but can assist me in my search

  • titles a bit off but good video, many change it to NONE OF THESE PEOPLE EVER OWNED PROPERTY? AS NO PERSON WILL EVER OWN PROPERTY…..

  • Someone is trying to steal my father's land

  • I am linda Richard

  • Thanks For The Info

  • will you be my real estate lawyer Seth?

  • my name is Christy Marie Cantu Garcia my birthday is July 11th 1978 and I was married to Ignacio Garcia April 10, 2004…. I need a lawyer to represent me please can someone help

  • oh yeah and if you are not guilty Damon and you are not the actual d that beat me …..then will you marry me?….😛 because I love you and miss you like crazy

  • yes, i was burnt in 2016.

  • I already record my  deed , where do I go to do title company, can I do myself?

  • Great video this helped me alot.

  • Great information!! You have answered my questions I had. Thank you!!!

  • I know this type work properly. Can I get any job.??

  • Nice! Thanks. I really wanted to buy raw land, but don't want to deal with a agent(who does really? HAHA I had bad experience in past and all they care about is money and quick sell for themselves) I have cash, and so I wanted to just bug the listing agent, but have my offer include the seller paying for the title search just to make sure nothing crazy shows up. Would everything I need to know show up in the title search than? In your opinion and experience, do you think the title search is the most important step? Thanks for posting this!!!

  • I didn't want to ask my dad he is impossible to deal with. This is excellent. Wow….makes me feel so much better about looking myself. THanks again!!!!!!!!

  • Awesome video on title and title searches, Seth! Thanks for sharing this video!

  • This is a very informative video explaining title searches. Thanks for sharing this resource, Seth

  • How much is a Title Insurance? I recently bought a parcel of land in Hot Springs, AR costing $600 but was issued with Limited Warranty Deed. I received the Limited Warranty Deed already from the mail issued by Saline County. I want to make it sure that the land that I bought is clean. What would be the best action that I should do. Thank you very much.

  • Good video, but how did you do your search?

  • 2:23 is he saying 4 years or FORTY years? 2:43 learn english

  • bullshit youtube video creator likes to fool the audience with phony title to video. fuck this. you haven't educated anybody

  • I live in USA Florida and i am a happy woman today? I told my self that any Loan lender that could change my Life and that of my family, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to Them. If you are in need of loan and you are 100% sure to pay back the loan please contact them and please tell them that Mrs Sharon Coolidge referred you to them. [email protected] or you can text +19725345446

  • Used this in a recent post: https://realagents.ca/title-insurance-what-is-it/

  • What does it mean when the individual is a vendee of a property but the taxes go to another company

  • Good video. That's common sense.

  • Shows more about the title than actually how to do the search, also no mention on how to find liens

  • Hi I intersted this work.because I have 5 years working experience

  • I research your property in low price

  • This isn't really a "tutorial" on how to do a title search if you are a "first time buyer" according to the first statements of the poster. When he says "you need to have a good eye and analytical mind"…for what exactly? Then there's the "ins and outs". Quit watching after that because I'm quite sure it won't help me one bit. I've found all you need to do is go to the local clerk of courts and they will help you find what you are looking for or the office in the same building that has the information you are looking for.

  • This doesn't actually help. No step by step instructions on "how to". Waste of time to read.

  • So can you close a deal without a title company

  • useless information. what about liens on the property…horrible.

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