If there is a lien to be paid off, are you named on the lien? As an example, if there is a loan, are you one of the signers on the loan? Simply removing yourself from title on a property does not remove you from the lien â€“ it only removes you from the property itself. If you signed for a loan, then you are on the hook for the loan â€“ the bank will only remove you if your ex qualifies for the loan himself and, in essence, does a refi to remove you.
Title companies look at previous owners to see if any liens, are attached to them rather than the property. For Example, IRS & Revenue/Recovery liens attach to the person initially, and impact the property when selling, refinancing etc. Much of what the title company looks for is based on when owners came into title, when they deeded out, when the lien attached & against whom, when parties divorced etc. The SSN is used to search for liens initially attached only to the owners-not the property. Hope that answers your question
The primary job of Title/Escrow is to assure, and insure, ownership transfers without any "clouds on title" which in laymenâ€™s terms simply means no one else besides the Buyers owns or has a claim against the property once escrow closes.
The basic issue with a Quitclaim Deed is this:
"Unlike most other property deeds, a quitclaim deed contains no title covenant and thus, offers the grantee no warranty as to the status of the property title; the grantee is entitled only to whatever interest the grantor actually possesses at the time the transfer occurs. This means that the grantor does not guarantee that he or she actually owns the property at the time of the transfer, or if he or she does own it, that the title is free and clear. It is therefore possible for a grantee to receive no actual interest, and â€“ because a quitclaim deed offers no warranty â€“ have no legal recourse to recover their losses."
[ read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quitclaim_deed ]
Title/Escrow is just doing what they are being paid to do - transfer a property to a Buyer with clear title.