Is Your Property's Title Valid?

Imagine going through the whole process of buying a home, moving and settling in, and then finding out a year down the road that you don't actually own the home due to an improperly filed titling issue. How could you have known or avoided such a mishap? Everything seemed so clear and smooth during the closing process. But then someone asks if you had a title search done or purchased title insurance, and you slowly blink in response. And this is where it all begins to make sense... this is why you shouldn't have declined title insurance.

While some may feel like title insurance is an unnecessary expense, the one-time upfront cost of coverage can be the one thing that can save your property rights in the event of a dispute or titling error. The peace of mind alone is worth it! So how does a title company determine whether a title is valid? This week, we're sharing with you some of the things we look for and the steps we take to ensure a clean title.

What Do We Look For?
One of the first things we do to determine whether a title is clear or not, is we complete a title search. The function of the title search is to verify that the seller is the actual legal owner of the property and to ensure that the title is not clouded, has no mortgage claims, liens, title claims, judgments, or any other outstanding claims that can jeopardize the grantee's right of ownership. We also try to pin down any restrictions, easements, leases or other issues that might impact ownership.

What Records Does a Title Search Review?
Each title search company or attorney that performs a title search may review different documents.  Generally, a title search company or an attorney will review:
  • All public and court records
  • The chain of title
  • Property tax records
  • Legal descriptions
  • Liens or other claims
  • Easements
Once we've conducted the title search, and before we issue title insurance, we'll prepare an abstract of title. This is a short summary of what was found during the title search (basically, this is the history of the ownership of the property). Then, a title opinion letter will be issued, which is a legal document that speaks to the validity of the title.

Title Problems a Title Search May Not Reveal
As with anything, there is the possibility of something getting missed during the search. Here are some common problems that a title search may not reveal:
  • Fraud
  • Forgeries
  • Mental incompetence
  • Clerical errors
  • Improperly probated wills
  • Confusion due to similar or identical name
Issuing a Title Insurance Policy
Once the title has been found to be 'valid', we can then issue a title insurance policy. While most lenders will require this policy, it is up to the buyer's discretion for purchasing an Owner's policy. The Lender's policy, however, does not cover the homeowner, and only covers the Lender in the event of a financial loss. Buyers should keep in mind that title insurance is there to help limit the risk of aforementioned mistakes and discrepancies. If a title problem later arises with the title, the title insurance company will pay any damages to the title holder or will correct the problem.

Trust Arrowhead Title To Perform Your Title Search!If you are buying a house or a piece of commercial property in the Tri-County Area, we hope you'll consider our Lake of the Ozarks title company to fulfill your title needs. Professionalism and superior service are of the utmost importance in our office. We promise to handle your transaction with the precision and accuracy that we would our own. For more information about our title services in central Missouri, visit our website at

The Lake of the Ozarks' Most Trusted Title Company
Where Accuracy Matters!

750 Bagnell Dam Blvd Suite B
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


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