Yes, satisfaction of mortgages and liens, are recorded with the Clerk of Courts which are available for public viewing. Title search by a title company will reveal any encumbrances on the title for a particular property. In our area, sellers pay for title insurance policies as part of their obligation to deliver good title to the buyer. Before a property is purchased, it may have gone through several ownership changes. There may be a weak link at any point in that chain that could emerge to cause trouble. For example, someone along the way may have forged a signature in transferring title. Or there may be unpaid real estate taxes or other liens. Title insurance covers the insured party for any claims and legal fees that arise out of such problems.