How to Find Land Titles

How to Find Land Titles
••• Chris Clinton/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A land title search starts when a buyer grows interest in the history of a property. Buyers also want to know the seller owns the land free and clear before sales negotiation begins. The land title search contains a wealth of information, including land boundaries, value and sales history. As a convenience, land title searches are online in most counties. However, when you visit the county recorder of deeds office, workers retrieve the records you need and answer any questions that you many have.

Write down the property address, including the city, state and zip code. The full address is required to retrieve the subdivision number and lot number of the land parcel. If the address is not known, record the addresses of the properties on either side of the land's location.

Visit the city's recorder of deeds office or county clerks office and inform the office administrators that you want to research a land title. Fill out the title search application and include the full address of the property you are searching. The clerk searches the files for the title. Some offices do not require an application and allow you to search the file independently. Others may charge a fee.

Research and review all the documents in the record index relating to the land and property. Sometimes documents are recorded in different volumes and books, then stored in different locations over the years. Sometimes the records store in separate rooms within the county office. Retrieve all the documents that relate to the property.

Review the land and property history summary. Start with the current owner and investigate all sales back to the original owner. Check for deeds, registry, taxes, assignment of mortgages, liens and releases and confirm that ownership was legally and fully transferred to each prior owner. Cross reference all recorded information to ensure validity.

Hire a reputable title company or real estate attorney. Although, the land title is public knowledge, information within is not always clearly understood by those not versed in real estate lingo. Property boundaries and tax issues are often complex.