What is a title search?
A title search is a process that is performed to determine the answers to two questions.
Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing (mortgages, back taxes, mechanic’s liens, or other assessments)?
What is a title report?
A title report reflects any easements, or recorded legal rights to the property or portions of the property. For example, a previous owner may have legally given a neighbor the right to share the driveway, or the city may have a right to strips of the property for putting power lines, communication lines, water pipes, or sewer lines.
In California, the buyer of a property will usually purchase title insurance, which protects the buyer from any title problems that may arise after sale (such as liens that were missed during the search, for example). The title insurance company issues a report reflecting the current state of title and issues an insurance policy in support of its findings.
A title search is also performed when an owner of a certain real property wishes to refinance his/her property and the bank requires him/her to insure their transaction.