Home Buying in 10001>Question Details

Lily, Home Buyer in New York, NY

is it possible that i get a title seach before i really buy the property?

Asked by Lily, New York, NY Thu Sep 11, 2008

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To quickly answer your question: Yes, you can get a title search before you buy. Whether you mean before you close on the property (during the contract time) or before you make an offer, a title search can be a valuable exercise. If you're referring to before you make an offer, I'm curious why you would find this necessary. Is the property in foreclosure or is there another issue that has raised your concern?

That said, there have been instances in which someone has come forward and claimed ownership of the property...in whole or part. Although rare, I am aware of a few of these claims in my relative small world of exposure. These claims can sometimes take years and money to resolve. I say again, this doesn't happen often.

The rest of my response is directed to Antolin Du Bois. Antolin made a few good points. A very FEW. Antolin's response seems almost angry but definitely accusational. Personally, I resent the implication that agents would suggest spending money that isn't necessary. I understand that a very small minority may refer business to others (even when not necessary) in the hopes of lining friends' pockets or of getting business referred back. I suppose unscrupulous agents exist just as in every other profession and industry. I DO NOT run my business that way nor do I treat anyone in my life (client or friend) in such an unconscionable manner. A title search can offer invaluable protection against other unscrupulous people who would choose to take advantage of others...with or without true claim. I also think your answer was a bit off topic. Lily's question was about a title search (which is relatively inexpensive) and your answer is more about title insurance.

If there is reason for concern, a title search first COULD save you money and time. If you wait until you're under contract for the search and THEN learn of a problem, you will have already spent money for the contract preparation and tied money up in escrow. Although this is the typical timeline for the process, if you're aware of or concerned about the ownership history of a particular property, then why not do a search first?!? Antolin is right in one aspect: much of the search can be done by you for little or no money. You may be able to find enough information on your own to either keep you from proceeding or give you peace of mind to move forward.

A title search (and possibly insurance) is another way to protect yourself. Why wouldn't a buyer want to take advantage of every tool for protection?!?


John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
Absolutely... you can do it yourself, ask your agent for a referral of a good title company and use a real estate attorney, Also check online as most registry's have gone to putting there deeds online, but for a true search, use the attorney. good luck
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
Sure. Most agents have established relationships with Title companies that would be more than willing to provide this information. However, there maybe limits on the monetary value of the services they provide. A question to you though. Likewise, if the home is listed for sale on your local MLS chances are the listing agent already has a copy of the title report. Call them and ask for a copy of it. Are you expecting to see something that will give you pause about buying the home? If not, go ahead and write your offer. You will have the opportunity to include a Title Contingency in the offer allowing you the option to review the title. If you don't like what you see on the title you can get out of the deal with no penalties based on the Title Contingency provision you wrote into the contract.

Chris Loeliger
Windermere Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
If you email me at: joliemuss@joliemuss.com I would be glad to provide you with a list of title companies who can do a title search or prepare an abstract of title for you.
Web Reference: http://joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
Sure you can, but DON'T!!!

Title insurance is such a scam.....so why pay it twice? Basically, it is so that some extinct Manhattan Indian's phony great great great grandson won't come along and claim that you took his antecedent's property, and it now belongs to him. And by the way, since the bank is lending you most of the money to buy this, this is one risk that normally in business they would either take on themselves or due diligence to figure out the truth, but in purchasing a home, they neither want the risk, nor want to pay for due diligence- which is why they have you do pay for it. I have NEVER EVER EVER heard of anyone getting sued over a title issue after purchasing a house through legitimate means: two lawyers, two agents, a bank, etc; and with modern technology it is so easy to check the court's records anyways, but unfortunately you need to get this insurance, which mainly protects the bank, and then often need to purchase the same DUMB insurance over again if you ever refinance. (Now of course, if you buy the deed from Joey the drug dealer down the street for a 90% discount, buyer beware.)

But wait, I can hear all the real estate pros here screaming that this is somehow not true. Well, lets not forget that they do so many closings, they know many of the title agents, and if some are their friends, well, what's the harm in pushing business their way- especially when it is required on almost every deal. Who knows if money slips back under the table, but I wouldn't put it past anyone, especially when you are overcharged so much for that STUPID insurance.

But wait, there is more. Many buyers THINK that this insurance protects them against all fraud, since there have been cases of people getting their property swindled right out from under them, by savvy operators who pretend to own the property but then either sell it for a nickel to some fool or quit claim the property over to some greater fool for a dime. (Nor will it help clearing up your credit or name should this happen.) But guess what- Title Insurance does not protect against FUTURE fraud- only past fraud, so again I ask, how Manhattan Indian decendents have made claims recently?

Exactly my point. From the insurers' pov, their buddy the real estate agents' pov, and the banks' pov, Title Insruance is the dining car of the gravvy train: its what every client 'needs', what every client pays for (hopefully to the agent's friends), and what will NEVER be collected upon, but is in place- at the customer's expense- just in case some guy with a mohawk and a headress should, ever, possibly, even remotely, show up.

Go to the courthouse, pull the file on your property, and see who were the previous owners. If you are really worried about further back, do a little research to see what Indian tribe sat on your land, so if the impossible happens, you will at least know if the decendent is telling the truth.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 13, 2008
Of course...and if you need any help in finding a Title Company contact us at our email longislandrealtors@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 13, 2008
As already answered (several times) sure you can have a search done first. Are you investigating a property that is on the market ? If so any offer you make should be contingent on clear title anyway.If your investigating a property that is not on the market so you can have peace of mind before you approach the owners with an offer that may be a good idea.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 12, 2008

Not only is it possible but it is essential if you are planning to purchase a non REO foreclosure. Even if it is not a foreclosure, you will benefit by learning whether or not the seller is upside down on his mortgage which will require a short sale. You can also get a lot of the info yourself from the County Clerk's office. Most have websites that anyone can access. Remember the saying, forewarned is forearmed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
Well you got the same answer 5 times.

What are you buying or considering to buy?
Web Reference: http://www.tommcgiveron.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
Yes you can. Some, if not most title companies will charge you for the privilege. There is a plethora of title companies in NY. You can, in fact, put in a title contingency in your contract which will protect you if the seller cannot deliver "good" title. However, I am a Real Estate attorney, and tell my clients that there are better things to do with their thousands of dolalrs than having the seller hold them in escrow while two attorneys debate "good" title. It sounds like for you to have piece of mind you should definitely contact a title company and have a quick search completed before you sign on the dotted (they're not even dotted anymore) line.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
Yes, you can. If you contact me off line, I will be happy to recommend a very good title company. I can be reached at Gail@GailGladstone.com
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
I would contact your attorney about this as you will need an experienced NYC real estate attorney to prepare a purchase contract and buy real Estate in New York. Contact me at joliemuss@joliemuss .com or 212 721-3301 if you would like a list of qulaified attorneys
Web Reference: http://joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
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