What to look for in a title search

Before you purchase property, whether it is a home, land or commercial property, you need a title search. This search will include gathering public records from county courts, surveyors, deed recorders and tax accessors.

These are the things you should look for in a title search.

Deed restrictions or covenants

Cities often place construction restrictions on properties. The city, community or previous owner may restrict your fence structure, materials, height and color; the number of vehicles you own; home specifications, such as color and size; and pet or livestock restrictions. You may be unable to build in a way that obstructs neighbors’ views or structures close to the property line.


Title searches also look for any liens against the property. A contractor could have a construction lien against the property. Liens may result from a divorce, back child support, bankruptcy or other civil court case judgments. Finally, if the previous owner owes either federal, state or property taxes, a lien may result.


At times, the city or county establishes easements on a piece of property. Easements allow a third party to use part of your property. The city may establish easements for future road construction or widening, or they can allow access to other properties, utilities or other assets.

Some cities also have websites where you can do your own search. However, to gain the best protection and access to the most extensive records, you hire a reputable title company. These professionals can find and help you fix the most challenging title issues.