Real estate lawyers are all too familiar with the stress surrounding the title search. While your clients are eagerly awaiting closing, this part of the process is often the stage that delays their hopes. The title search is one element of the buying process that’s difficult to grasp. In fact, according to the National Realtor Association, the title search accounts for 9% of closing delays.
If you want to speed things up, a title search automation tool could be a valuable tool for you. So, in this post, we’ll talk about what’s required of the title search and how the process can be automated.
Let’s dive in!
The Property Title
Before we look at how title-search automation works, let’s take a look at some key definitions. The property title is the document that determines who owns the home, and therefore has the right to sell it. In itself, this seems straight forward.
However, there might be aspects of the home that cause uncertainty over where the ownership of the house truly lies. If there are liens on the property, the buyer might run into issues with their rights to sell the house later on. Real estate lawyers must settle any conflicting claims first.
How Do Liens and Title Issues Relate to the Deed?
Different types of deeds offer other rights and protections to the ownership of the property. Liens and title issues might restrict the type of deed that the seller can pass on to the buyer.
This might occur when the current owner has outstanding debts. A lien means the seller cannot convey a clean title.
This would exclude the conveying of a general warranty deed. A general warranty deed is commonly used in real estate transactions and assumes the grantor is the rightful owner of the property.
Special warranty deeds can be issued when there are uncertainties. These may guarantee the buyer that they can buy the title from the grantor and hold the title legally.
However, it does not protect against any liens or issues that might have existed before the current grantor owned it. A thorough title search can prevent any uncertainties.
What Goes Into Property Title Search?
A property title search, therefore, searches for documents that exist on a specific property. The property title document itself might not contain all pertinent information.
Lawyers, therefore, search for comprehensive local records and sources to find out everything they can about a house and who has a claim on it.
Property title searches will also uncover any deed restrictions. These define how the property can be used and what might not be allowed on the property going forward.
Restrictions could, for example, include:
- Building of fences
- Obstructing the views of the neighbors
- Adjacent structures
- Running a business from home
- Allowing pets
- Allowing certain color palettes
- The number of bedrooms
- Whether there is building approval
- How many vehicles and which vehicle types are allowed
The property title search also finds out if there are easements on the property. This refers to the right of another party to use the land. For example, someone might need to be permitted to cross your property to gain access to a section of the road.
The title search defines property divisions as well, such as where your property ends along driveways and fences.
When Is the Title Search Performed?
The title search occurs during the closing process after the buyer has made an offer. It appears before the formal transferal of ownership. The real estate lawyer will inform the buyer of any information that comes up during the title search.
How Lawyers Can Utilize Automation
The title search is one of the most important and challenging steps in the buying process. Lawyers, therefore, need to be careful about obtaining an accurate background on the property.
They also need to do this in a timeframe that works for their buyers.
This means searching through:
- County land records
- Divorce cases
Child support cases
- Bankruptcy records
- Federal and state tax liens
- Financial judgments
…and much more.
Automation is the best way to make this process as efficient as possible. Automation has been introduced in most industries as digitalization takes hold of many workflows. Attorneys are no exception.
Automation can automate mandatory, profit-dragging management tasks and save you and your company time and administrative costs.
Title-search automation with Title leader automates the crucial 11 steps of the title-search process:
- Ordering documents and details
- Storing documents and information
- Reviewing invoices
- Tracking searches in realtime
- Finding and researching information
- Paying invoices
- Receiving search results
- Managing communications with abstractors
- Reporting (standard and custom reports) to keep your team informed and focused
- Keeping receipts of invoices
The software can keep all the information ready at your fingertips. It accumulates all steps and processes into one smart dashboard and helps reduce significant pain points that are common in the process.
Automation Software Versus Vendors
Real estate lawyers were previously able to speed up their title search by turning towards national title vendors. It is possible to order information via some search vendors by entering data of an investigation into their website.
However, this process is tedious and benefits the vendor more than your own company. With automation, you can upload a spreadsheet of your search requests, and the software can do the rest for you.
Lawyers Can Utilize Title Search Automation to Revolutionize Their Work
Automation is now vital in many industries, and real estate lawyers can finally benefit from the same. By automating your workflows, lawyers can save themselves and their clients time, making the closing process swifter and easier for everyone.
For more info on how to automate your title search, please feel free to contact us today!