What is a Title Search
I will do my best to explain what a title search entails and why it is so important to the issuance of your Title Insurance Policy, and maintaining all the accuracy we can to avoid any difficult issues for you or your client.
It is called a “Title Search” because that is exactly what we do, search the public records. There are various records and areas we, as a title insurer, need to review and determine what may effect the property we are considering for insurance. Some people in the industry may use the term “Run” the names or “Run” the property. In the business of titles, this is synonomys with “Search.” If you are in a conversation with any title professional and do not understand a term that is used, please feel free to ask to have that term explained or defined. We love to talk about our business.
The first place we search is the Recorder's Office to determine who legally owns the “PIQ” (Property in Question). In the process of determining the record owner, we also review all the prior recorded documents related to the PIQ, as well as any that may have been placed of record subsequent to the time the present owner took title to the property. At this time we determine what, if any, of these documents we need to have sent to our examining staff to review the potential effect they may have on the ownership and insurability of the property. I will explain the process and operation of the “Examining Staff” in a future issue.
We also search the records in the County Treasurer's office to be certain that the real estate taxes have been paid and that there are no past due taxes that may be subject to late penalties or even worse, may have been sold for failure to pay in full when due. The search staff also checks to see if there are any special assessments that may be due.
Our search staff also is responsible for checking the County Clerk's records to determine whether, to name just a few items, if there are any divorces of record involving the sellers, any judgements against any of the parties, or any open cases pending.
In the State of Illinois all
County Recorder's offices are required to keep their records in the form of a
Grantor / Grantee index, which means that all of our searches are done using
the names of the parties in title. Sometimes that can get a bit
unwieldy for searches on persons with common names so you can surely see the
need to get accurate information from all the parties, such as middle names
and social security numbers. We also search the PIQ by the legal
description and the Parcel ID Number.
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Toni Casson has been with Benchmark Title Company since the day we opened our doors on February 15, 1998, and is excited about our upcoming 10 year anniversary in business. Toni serves as Lead Title Searcher, searching titles on residential and commercial properties in the counties of St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Clinton, Washington, Jersey, Perry, Randolph, Bond and wherever else we can find to send her. With her nearly 14 years of title searching experience Toni is a rare gem in terms of her knowledge, experience and ability to find and resolve title problems. Toni lives in Waterloo with her husband, Jim Casson, and their cat Harold.
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