DeedBooks22Title Examinations

A title to real estate is the chain of legal instruments found at the registry of deeds which evidences ownership and possessory rights in real estate. Think of it as the legal foundation upon which your home is built. In all Massachusetts real estate transactions, the seller must be able to convey “good, clear and marketable” title to the buyer. Marketable title is such that can be transferred free and clear of defects, liens, encumbrances or the possibility of litigation. Lenders will not give you a mortgage unless the property’s title is clear and marketable.

Registry of Deeds

As part of the closing process, TitleHub’s title examiners, stationed across Massachusetts’ registries of deeds, thoroughly examine each title, going back 50 years. The title examiner provides a comprehensive title examination report to TitleHub’s attorneys which outlines the title history of the property, including all mortgages, liens, easements, tax liens, and other potential title issues. A qualified attorney on our staff – not a paralegal like other firms – always reviews and approves each title examination.

Curing Title Defects

While most titles come back clean, title issues and defects always lurk around the corner, and if left unresolved, can derail your closing. This is where TitleHub excels. Our attorneys combined have decades of experience in resolving complex title defects, and one of them was outside counsel to a national title insurance company for several years. We have resolved such complicated problems as undischarged mortgages, tax liens, attachments, executions, probate issues, missing ownership interests, incorrect legal descriptions, missing mortgage assignments, improper foreclosures, missing parcels, paper streets, and improper subdivision.

A title examination, however, has its limitations. Even the most accurate title examination will not catch a host of “off-record” problems. These include forgeries, impersonations, undue influence, heirs of prior owners claiming a stake in the property, boundary encroachments, and adverse possession claims. Errors from prior closings can also arise such as undischarged mortgages and liens, recording errors and incorrect legal descriptions on deeds.

Get Title Insurance

For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you obtain a title insurance policy. Title insurance protects homeowners and lenders from financial loss in the event that certain title defects arise, such as those discussed above. All United States mortgage lenders require a lender’s title insurance policy on their behalf, and this is part of your standard closing costs. A lender’s policy, however, does not protect the homeowner. Thus, we always advise buyers to obtain a separate owner’s policy of title insurance to protect your interests. Please read our page on Title Insurance for more information.

Once the title examination and any title defects are resolved, the loan will be “cleared to close,” and the closing can be scheduled. The title insurance policies will be issued shortly after the closing.