You wouldn't want to make a $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 mistake would you? A title search is better off left to the professionals. Find a reputable title company and pay them the money to do it, besides they have errors and omission insurance in case they make a mistake.
Generally speaking it's almost always best to let the property take it's course through the foreclosure process and buy a home from there. Your title issues will weed themselves out.
Sounds like you need a good REALTOR to help you, I'd be glad to help just give me a call 419-280-1394.
There is also a report that is done early in the foreclosure process called the "preliminary judicial report" which is filed in the county offices on each and every foreclosure case.
The idea behind that report is to provide the court with a list of liens and other interests which are to be foreclosed upon.
Again, I'm not a lawyer and there very well may be other reasons for this report.
Now, every county has a different way of filing records, so you would need to find out where the foreclosure case files are kept in Lucas County. I"ve never had need to look for one in this county so I honestly don't know which office maintains these records here in Lucas County.
You might try asking the recorder's office or the sheriff's office.
Once you locate where the records are kept, go to that office and take the case number of the foreclosure with you. They can look up the file and you can view the preliminary judicial report which will tell you the other interests in the property, including liens.
The attorney who handles the foreclosure typically hires a title company to provide this information.
Remember that mistakes can be made and there is no guarantee that it is accurate and complete.
Above all, don't listen to realtors from far away states tring to give you advice in Ohio! The laws differ widely from one state to another.
For example, I understand that in California the title company is not allowed to do the escrow part of the transaction. I'll bet that realtor from California who answered you doesn't even know if Ohio is a judicial or non-judicial state, recourse or non-recourse and so on.
I wouldn't ever attempt to answer a real estate question for somene in California! (the world is a much happier place when we each work our own side of the street)
I'm not an attorney, so don't take this as legal opinion, however, the act of foreclosure is intended to clear the title of the property.
When a property is "foreclosed" that means that "all prior interests in the property are forever closed".
Now, there is more to it than that. One would think that if all prior interests are forever closed, then there should be no title issues at closing because all liens etc have been wiped clean, right?
Well sometimes there are mistakes made during the foreclosure process and a lien might actually survive the foreclosure.
One of my customers is finally closing on a REO property which went through foreclosure then after his offer was accepted, it failed to close the first time because the title company discovered a problem.
I would never EVER close on a property without having a competitant title examiner search the title and at LEAST a title guarantee, title insurance in addition.
While some of the agents here have suggested you can search title on Areis, that's incorrect.
You can see who the prior owners are on Areis and you can get a lot of information there but remember that a title examiner would also need to search judgements, lis pendens, probate records, marriage records (Ohio is a dower state) and a host of other areas which can affect title. These records are not on Areis.
There is a situation which occured here in Toledo where a man purchased a house at sheriff's sale. He waited patiently for his confirmation of sale and finally was given his deed and possession of the property. Remember that you don't get to inspect a sheriff's sale property before bidding.
Well, when he entered the property, he discovered the decomposing body of the foreclosed prior owner.
As it turns out, the sheriff's sale was recinded because at the time of his death, his heirs immediately have an interest in the property (somebody always owns a property) and the heirs had never received propert notice of the foreclosure action.
Title examination is tricky and best left to the experts.
As Matt said in his message, you would'nt want to make a big mistake would you?
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The link below is correct but if it helps here is a more direct link to the Areis site - http://maps.co.lucas.oh.us/areis/areis.asp
My question to you is what type of info are you looking for? Let me know if I can help.
This is NOT an exhaustive search, which is what a title company will do, but it should give you a feel for what you may be up against.