Why You Should Always Check Property Records Before Buying a Home

Real estate transactions are major investments, and buyers shouldn’t go into these transactions blindly. Property records give the buyer vital information about the property and any outstanding debts that might derail the sale. When you check property records, buyers stay informed about the property and don’t face unwanted surprises during or after the closing.  

Sales contract

A title company completes a title search and reviews property records to determine that the seller is the lawful owner of the property. Real estate transactions require a title search before the closing and after the buyer signs the sales contract, and if the seller isn’t the lawful owner, they can’t sell the property.

Buyers purchase title insurance to cover financial losses if the deal falls through because of the title. Need to get a title search? Visit PropertyScout.io for more information. 

See If There Are Outstanding Property Taxes

Property taxes fall on the buyer for the current year if they purchase a home in January. Otherwise, the seller pays a pro-rated amount based on how long they lived in the property before the sale, and the buyer pays a pro-rated amount covering the remainder of the current year.

Overdue property taxes lead to a lien against the property. The seller must pay the property taxes. They either pay the debt before the closing, or they can use the proceeds from the sale to pay their tax implications.

To use the proceeds from the sale, the seller must obtain a certificate of discharge from the county tax assessor’s office. The action transfers the debt to the seller and the real estate transaction proceeds.

The certificate of discharge allows the title company to transfer the title to the buyer free and clear.

property tax notice

Are There Liens Against the Home?

Creditors apply liens on real estate to collect any outstanding balance owed by the homeowner. Before the creditor gets a property lien, they file a lawsuit against the debtor in their county of residence. The creditor must win the lawsuit to get a judgment showing that the debtor owes the creditor an outstanding balance.

Property records show if the real property has an existing lien from a creditor and how much the seller owes. The seller must get a lien release from the creditor, and they must pay off the lien before selling the property.

Easements That Apply to the Property

An easement applies to a portion of real property, such as a private road that crosses the property lines. Buyers want to know if they must share any part of their property because of an easement. Property records inform buyers how an easement affects their property and defines the rights of others who live in their region. 

easement for road and power lines

Track the Value of the Property

Property records show the price the property was sold for each time an owner placed the property on the market. These statistics show how the property increased or decreased in value. When investing in real estate, buyers want a property that shows a steady increase in value.  

Property records are public, and buyers need to review these documents to learn about the property before investing. The records indicate if the seller is the lawful owner, if there are tax liens, and if there are any property liens from creditors.

A well-informed buyer avoids delays and purchases a home on their preferred schedule. Want to check property records for a home of interest? Visit the website for more details about services.

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