Frequently Asked Questions
Why is an abstract important?
An abstract is a gathering of information which materially affects a specific tract of land – recognizing the significance of recorded matters. The documents and information are typically arranged in chronological order and date back to a minimum of 40 years. Included in the abstract are all recordings, including but not limited to: deeds, mortgages, liens, and judgments.
Explain the meaning of ‘bringing the abstract up to date’.
A professional abstracter confirms that the existing abstract is accurate and contains all new information that could affect property title since the date of the last abstract.
Is there a complete record of ownership of the property beginning with the first owner?
Most properties have had several owners – the record of those transactions is call the “Chain of Title.” It is important to confirm that each transaction was handled properly so that there is no ill effect on new ownership.
Are there any judgments against the current owner?
When someone is sued and a judgment is placed against him/her, any real estate he or she owns may become security for the debt. This causes a ‘cloud on title’ and until this matter is completely disposed of a policy will not be issued.
What issues with taxes could be related to a property?
Taxes that have not been paid are the first lien on the property. It is best to know about this before purchase, so that the current owner (and representative) can properly deal with them prior to sale.
Do other people/companies have legal rights to this property?
There are many ways that another entity could have some kind of right to the property – easements, air rights, mineral rights, to name a few. Previous owners could have given or sold these which would then possibly pass along to new owners.
Who in a corporation has the right to sell a property?
A corporation has rules and laws that govern their business. It is important to ensure that the proper procedures are followed so that any sale is legal and binding. In addition, if the corporation is involved in any other legal situation including, bankruptcy or receivership, further research and documentation will be required.