In any property purchase, one of the most important aspects of your lawyer’s work for you is the title search. The title search reviews the entire purchase, sale and debt history of a piece of property and offers you an in-depth view of what is available and any potential problems.
What kind of potential problems?
As property is one of the most complex types of assets, property owners have immense flexibility to utilize their equity. Utilization of equity, however, can leave a piece of property open to such issues as:
- Liens: Liens are a primary debt collection tool for craftspeople and contractors. If the property owners do not pay their bills, a lien may be placed on the property to recover. A lien can outlast ownership, so proceed with caution if one arises in a title search.
- Loans against the property: When you use property as collateral for a loan, it becomes compromised for the next owner.
- Restrictive covenants: These are often clauses in the deed. A restrictive covenant restricts how the owners can use or change a portion of the property. A restrictive covenant can be a major issue if you plan to develop a property.
- Incomplete records: Technically called “defective recordation,” incomplete or improperly recorded history on a property is a significant red flag. While there may not necessarily be an issue, bad records can leave a property vulnerable to many actions.
Properly completing a title search and opinion on a piece of property is necessary for any real estate purchase.
Skilled review of legal documents
While anyone can read all of the documents associated with a piece of property’s history, many would find the process complicated. However, with a skilled attorney who understands Wisconsin title law, you can vastly speed up the process and get a thorough, thoughtful outlook.