Also found in: Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A title search is an examination of property records by a title company or attorney to ensure that the person from whom you are buying a piece of property is its legal owner, and that there are no outstanding legal claims against the property.
Your lender will require you to pay for a title search before the closing, or settlement, on your new home.
The title search consists of a close examination of public records, such as deeds, wills, court judgments, and trusts, to make sure that the seller has the right to sell the property to you and that all prior mortgages, liens, and judgments have been settled.
Sometimes the title search uncovers pending legal actions, undisclosed easements, or even claims on the property by heirs to prior owners. Since title examiners might miss problems and public records can contain errors, most lenders will require you to purchase title insurance at closing to protect their interest in the property.
A review of all recorded documents that affect title to a particular piece of real property. Ideally, a title search should proceed all the way backward to the original patent (deed) out of the government into the first private owner, or to the root deed, which is the first deed before a statutorily enacted cutoff date for claims.