What Does a Title Search Not Discover?

title search

Title searches are integral to any real estate purchase. It’s one of the best defenses against a title issue putting your ownership of the property you just purchased into question. Title searches can make sure the property’s title doesn’t have illegal deeds, public record errors, unknown liens, and more, but it doesn’t find everything.

There are some things that a title search does not look for, and you need to have experienced title issues attorneys help check for them. When there is something that a title search does not search for, that means it is not covered by title insurance. If one of these unchecked issues appears on your property while you have title insurance, your title insurance will not cover the potential damages or costs to resolve it.

Contact the title issue attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam to make sure you are protecting your ownership of a new property. 

What Does a Title Search Not Check?

While there is no guarantee that a well-done title search will check for every possible problem your title can have, there are some issues it doesn’t look for at all. The average title search does not search for three specific issues:

  • Unrecorded special taxes
  • Assessments for public improvements
  • Property survey issues

What is a Special Tax?

Special taxes are what’s called a surtax, where property owners in a municipality have to pay extra tax meant to fund a specific project. It’s a common way for a municipality to fund local infrastructure projects like road construction, electrical power lines, sewer lines, and/or any other public services the local government has to handle.

While you can’t be charged for a special tax unless you live in an area that would benefit from it, that’s still money you didn’t expect to be paying regularly. These are usually set to be levied against your property for several years, and they are not tax-deductible, so there isn’t much way to reduce or avoid them. 

Because this issue doesn’t threaten your ownership but your ability to afford the property, many title searches will not even check if the property receives special taxes.

What Are Public Improvement Assessments?

Public improvement assessments are closely related to special taxes. Some properties reside in what are called Public Improvement Districts (PIDs). These are designated by cities and counties to be places where the majority of landowners want projects or services to be undertaken and are willing to pay for them through things like special taxes. 

To discover if a district qualifies to become a PID, the city or country will commit to a public improvement assessment. This will research and provide information on what a project or service will provide the county or district with. If the project or service is found to be something the district can afford and will benefit from, it will become a PID and tax the people living there to pay for these projects and services. 

Because these taxes and the PID status of your property aren’t tied to your property’s title or associated documents, a title search wouldn’t inform you of this. This is something to consider when purchasing a property because it’s an extra tax that can raise and drop depending on the project or service it’s funding. It may also be for a project or service you won’t use, but because your neighbors wanted it, you have to pay for it. 

What Would Be a Property Survey Issue?

A property survey informs you of the boundaries of the land you bought or own. A title search does not double-check your surveys to see if they are correct and does not point out any issues it may show that you wouldn’t recognize. These issues include:

  • Buildings, fences, walls, driveways, and other structures that are encroaching on your property.
  • Unrecorded joint-use agreements, such as unwanted community driveways and walls. 
  • Unrecorded easements, rights of way, and public roads on the property.

Any of these issues could make living or working on your property more complicated than you thought it would be when you bought it. You may not have completed the purchase if you had known about these issues.

What Can You Do To Discover These Issues?

In addition to your regular title search, an informed title issues and title insurance attorney can point you toward professionals who check this information for you. While these issues may not be associated with a property’s title, they are ones you should be informed about and should look out for.

Contact Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam for Help

The title issues and insurance attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam have been helping clients find and resolve their title issues since 1962. Our team of attorneys has the experience and connections necessary to help you catch your title issues, resolve them, and catch other issues that threaten your real estate property purchase. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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