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Abstract of title explained

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Prospective home buyers and others interested in a Pennsylvania real estate transaction will likely want to know as much as possible regarding the title history of a property before pulling the trigger on a deal. A thorough title check is also necessary before obtaining insurance for a mortgage. The process for researching this history is known as an abstract of title.

What is an abstract of title?

An abstract of title provides concerned parties with a chronological history of legal documents attached to a property. It begins with the initial deed to the property and includes all claims and ownership changes that are part of the property history.

All deeds and mortgages are available on the abstract of title. These documents provide a history of past loans associated with the property.

Liens are another item commonly included in an abstract of title. A lien guarantees the financial interests of the lienholder against the value of the property. Repair costs, second mortgages and unpaid taxes represent common reasons for liens to become attached to a property. Other possible listings on an abstract of title include HOA fees, surveyor notes, easements and other unpaid debts.

The importance of an abstract of title

Buyers will want to see an abstract of title before purchasing a property to ensure that there are no liens or judgments against a new real estate asset. A buyer willing to buy a property with a lien against it will need to know the lien amount and other relevant information regarding the judgment.

Real estate law professionals suggest that property sellers keep an abstract of title on hand to make way for a smoother transaction. Property owners not in possession of an abstract of title should reach out to a county recorder or title company to recreate this document. Once they obtain the abstract of title, the owner should store them in a safe place. Multiple replacements can become expensive.

Legal assistance with buying or selling

Real estate transactions can become a complex matter for inexperienced individuals to navigate on their own. People considering the buying or selling of real property may enjoy a smoother process when they work with a real estate attorney.