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The Importance of Property Title Search in New Jersey Real Estate

Photo by Sanaulac When purchasing a home in New Jersey, it is crucial to ensure that you have a clear title to the property. To avoid any legal disputes and secure your investment, a property...

property title search Photo by Sanaulac

When purchasing a home in New Jersey, it is crucial to ensure that you have a clear title to the property. To avoid any legal disputes and secure your investment, a property title search is essential. Understanding the process and its significance can save you from potential financial liabilities and provide peace of mind.

What Is a Property Title Search?

A property title search is the examination of public records to determine the legal ownership of a property. It helps identify any claims or liens on the property and ensures that the seller has the legal right to transfer ownership. This process is vital when buying a home, as it reveals who has the rightful ownership and protects you from hidden debts or claims.

Why Do You Need a Property Title Search in NJ?

who pays for the title search in new jersey Photo by Sanaulac

Performing a property title search in New Jersey is crucial to avoid future complications. Here are some reasons why you need it:

  1. Identify Claims and Liens: A title search helps uncover any claims or liens on the property, such as unpaid taxes, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees, or bills for previous home improvements. By knowing and addressing these issues upfront, you can avoid financial liabilities.

  2. Mortgage Lender Requirement: Mortgage lenders require both title searches and title insurance to protect their investment. A thorough title search ensures that there are no hidden issues that could affect the value of the property or the lender's security.

  3. Previous Owner's Debts: A property title search reveals any outstanding debts of previous owners, enabling you to make an informed decision about purchasing the property. It helps you understand the financial history of the property and avoid potential financial burdens.

How to Conduct a Property Title Search in New Jersey

To perform a property title search in New Jersey, follow these five steps:

  1. Discover the Transfer History: Research the property's transfer history to trace the ownership chain from the current owner to the original owner. This information is available at the registrar's offices.

  2. Tax Search: Conduct a tax search to determine the current status of real estate taxes on the property. This search helps identify any special assessments against the property.

  3. Title Inspection: Inspect the title to uncover any encroachments or issues that might affect the property's ownership. This step ensures a thorough examination of the title's validity.

  4. Judgment Search: Perform a judgment search to identify any critical and unsatisfied judgments against the property. This search helps uncover potential legal issues or claims.

  5. Closing Process: Once any title mistakes are resolved, both the buyer and seller can proceed with closing the real estate transaction.

Common Problems in Property Title Searches

When conducting a property title search, several common issues can arise in New Jersey:

  • Improper Transfer of Title: Sometimes, the required paperwork is not completed during a property sale, resulting in titles that indicate the previous owner as the current occupant.

  • Boundary Encroachment: The registered size of the property must match its actual size. Ensuring accurate boundary information is essential to avoid disputes.

  • Complications with the Estate: Multiple heirs or the absence of a will can complicate the title search process. Court intervention may be required to determine the legitimate owner.

  • Unknown Owners: An unknown owner listed on the title can pose challenges to the sale. Resolving ownership disputes is necessary before transferring the property.

  • Forgeries: Some titles may be forged, requiring resolution before completing the real estate transaction.

  • Contractor's Lien: If a homeowner fails to pay for work performed on the property, a contractor's lien can be placed against the property title.

  • Tax Lien: If the current owner has outstanding taxes, tax liens will be added to their title. These liens must be addressed before selling the property.

Cost and Duration of a Property Title Search in NJ

The average cost of a property title search in New Jersey ranges from $75 to $200. However, the specific price may vary depending on the property's location and other factors. Additionally, transferring a title in New Jersey incurs a fee of approximately 0.85% of the sale price.

As for the duration, a property title search in New Jersey typically takes 1-2 weeks. The complexity of the documents involved can affect the timeline. It's essential not to rush the process, as a thorough evaluation is necessary.

Entrust Your Property Title Search to Professionals

While some buyers or lenders may opt to perform their own title searches, it is highly recommended to seek the expertise of a real estate attorney or a title company. These professionals are well-versed in the intricacies of property title searches and can provide valuable guidance and assurance throughout the process.

At Curbelo Law, we specialize in real estate law and have assisted numerous homeowners in navigating the complexities of property transactions. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through the title search process and ensure a smooth and secure real estate transaction.

Don't let the potential risks and legal complications of property titles deter you from purchasing your dream home. Contact Curbelo Law in Ridgewood, New Jersey, for personalized consultation and reliable legal assistance.