Title is the right to, or ownership of, a specific real estate property. Buyers get a preliminary title report from an escrow agent or attorney within a week after they reach mutual acceptance on an offer. The report identifies all parties with a legal claim to the property, what items need to be cleared from title before the new buyer can take possession, and if there are any easements or encroachments on the property. Once the transaction closes, the buyers will receive a final title policy recording their names as the new legal owners along with the principal loan amount. This information is part of the counties’ public records.
An examination of public records by a title company, lawyer, or escrow agent to determine the history of ownership of a particular piece of property and identify any liens, encroachments, easements, restrictions, or other factors that might affect the title. This step must be completed before a buyer can purchase title insurance.