What is a Title Search in Florida?

A title search in Florida is an examination of information about a property to assess its legal ownership. A title search also identifies potential issues that will affect the transfer of title or sale of the title. It’s a good idea to get a title search when preparing a property for sale or when buying a home yourself. This is because a title search reveals key information about previous ownership. If there is an issue with the property title then this will stall or possibly prevent the sale of the home.

The title represents the legal ownership of a property. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s important to ensure that it’s rightfully owned. Our team at Galaxy Title & Escrow can assist in real estate transactions and help you transfer titles properly.

Should I Get a Title Search When Buying a Home?

It’s highly recommended that you get a title search whether you’re buying or selling a property. Here’s why getting a title search in Florida is important:

A title search will identify any potential issues with the sale, including:

  • Break in Chain of Title: This means that someone who did not have legal ownership possessed the property for a time which could result in a lack of clear title for the current owner.
  • Liens: Identifying tax liens, mechanic’s liens, or liens from creditors that encumber the property and need to be addressed before a sale can take place.
  • Bankruptcy: If the current owner has filed for bankruptcy it could create uncertainties about ownership and complicate the transfer of the property.
  • Occupancy Issues: The property may be occupied by someone other than the owner, and if the owner were to pass away, the occupant may try to claim ownership during probate proceedings.
  • Zoning Restrictions: This highlights town zoning ordinances that restrict or prohibit desired uses of the property, such as operating a home business or owning farm animals.
  • Multiple Mortgages: Multiple mortgages on the property prevent a home from being sold until these mortgages are settled.
  • Boundary Disputes: Neighbors may claim ownership over a portion of the property, which then requires a survey.
  • Foreclosure: Pending foreclosure proceedings could impact the transfer of ownership.
  • Divorce Proceedings: Divorce proceedings may make it possible for a spouse to contest the transfer of the property during their settlement.

Without the title search the buyer may become financially responsible for any debts associated with the property. Issues with the title can also create obstacles during the transaction that lead to financial losses for both the seller and buyer.

It’s a great idea to get a title search before putting a home on the market because then the seller can resolve issues and enable a smooth transaction with potential buyers. As a buyer, it’s useful to get a title search so you’re aware of any problems that may occur when buying a property and obtaining the title. A title search defines ownership and if a property is legally owned then the transaction process will be simpler.

How To Get a Title Search in Florida

There are three common methods to conduct a title search on a Florida property:

  1. Hire a lawyer: A lawyer can handle the title search and provide guidance on the process and any legal implications.
  2. Use a title company: Title companies offer title search services and often sell title insurance policies.
  3. Conduct a public records search: Although not recommended for a comprehensive title search, individuals can search public records themselves. However, this method may not provide all the necessary information.

What is Included in a Title Search?

A Florida Title Search report typically consists of the following sections:

  • Ownership of Title: This section identifies the current owner of the property and their right to ownership. It provides the name of the person from whom you’re purchasing the property.
  • Description of Property: This section includes the legal description of the property’s location and its recorded information in official records. It also specifies where you can find this information in the county’s public records.
  • Evidence of Title: This section shows the documented history of ownership changes for the property according to public records. It may reveal past litigations or disputes that could impact the property’s transfer in ownership.
  • Mortgages, Assignments, and Modifications: This section provides information about mortgages on the property, including details about the lender, original amount, and public records.
  • Other Property Liens and Encumbrances: This section identifies any additional liens or claims on the property, excluding mortgages. It includes financial and non-financial claims, such as liens related to unpaid debts or agreements with gated communities.
  • Restrictions/Easements: This section highlights any limitations or rights of third-party access to the property. It covers easements, which grant someone the legal right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose.
  • Tax Information: This section includes details about the property’s tax status for the specified year, including payment status and amounts owed.

When our team at Galaxy conducts a title search, our real estate attorney can explain the findings and what each of these factors means for a new owner.

What Doesn’t Come Up in a Title Search?

It’s important to note that a title search only includes matters recorded in the official records. The search may not uncover issues such as encroachments, municipal liens, or condo or HOA reports. Additional searches, such as a land survey or a federal tax lien search, may be necessary to uncover other potential issues.

How Much Does a Title Search Cost?

The cost of a title search in Florida typically ranges from $150.00 to $500.00. Cost can depend on who performs the search, the property type, and the process. Usually, the search will only take five business days, but it may take longer if additional document copies are requested.

Need a Title Search in Florida? Galaxy Title & Escrow Can Help!

florida title search


Our team wants to make buying and selling a home easier. We recommend title searches before closing on a home but we also offer title insurance to protect your claim of ownership.

When you’re preparing for a real estate transaction, consider opening an escrow account with us to secure any funds you may be using in the process, including money for a title search. If you have any questions about property titles or closing on a home, call us, our team is happy to put any concerns to rest.

Mitchell IssaWhat is a Title Search in Florida?

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