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Title and title insurance explained

When purchasing real estate in Florida, a buyer may not understand that there is a difference between the deed to the property and its title. SFGate.com explains that a property title is a report rather than a document, and the buyer and the lender need to be able to review the details of this historical record before signing contracts for the purchase.

The information gathered for the report includes mortgages, liens and loans, and if there are any of these currently filed against the property, the title is not considered to be free and clear. When examining the history of the deed, the current property owner is the person who is identified by the most recent transaction.

The lender wants to know that the title report does not have any errors, so before a person can get a loan to acquire property, he or she must typically purchase a title insurance policy. Bankrate.com points out that the property is the collateral on the loan, so the lender needs to know that the buyer will actually become the legal owner. This is not a frivolous requirement, as research typically exposes a problem on one out of three records.

It is important to ensure that the person who is performing the title search is not merely reviewing the results of former searches rather than the original documents. A mistake that was missed in the past could be missed again if the title company cuts corners in this way. Errors that may be uncovered include issues such as undisclosed heirs, fraud or omissions, or they could be as simple as a clerical mistake. A title insurance policy is designed to provide security against this type of possibility. 

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