In real estate business and law, a title search or property title search is the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of a piece of real property, to determine relevant interests in and regulations concerning that property.
In the case of a prospective purchase, a title search is performed primarily to answer three questions regarding a property on the market:
Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land? These would include real covenants, easements and other servitudes.
Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing? These would be mortgages, back taxes, mechanic’s liens, and other assessments.
A title search is also performed when an owner wishes to mortgage his property and the bank requires the owner to insure this transaction.