The real estate title indicates the legal ownership of a Tennessee property and any claims on it. Before purchasing real estate, a buyer should instigate a title search.
In researching the title, the buyer can discover whether any defects, or clouds, exist on the title that would keep the current owner from selling the rights to the property. A title search could also reveal other facts that may affect the buyer’s decision to purchase the property.
Discover.com explains that in more than one-third of title searches, the researcher uncovers a cloud. These often include errors on the deed, some as simple as a misspelling, and others as complex as a mistake on a legal description. Mechanic’s liens and tax liens may also cloud the title. The current owner must pay these before he or she can sell the property.
The person who put the property up for sale may not be the only owner. It is important to know whether there are other owners, such as co-inheritors, as these people must also sign the closing documents.
Although taking care of any of these factors may result in delays, the seller typically is able to resolve them.
Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute warns that there may be limitations to the use of the property, and these will show up on the title. For example, there may be an easement that allows a neighbor to have a driveway across the property because there is no street access to his or her property. Or, there may be an easement that will prevent the buyer from building an addition to the home because it blocks a neighbor’s view. These things may affect the desirability of the property, so discovering them early is important.