Property Title Search Georgia: How & Why to Conduct One in a Real Estate Transaction

 

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What You Need to Know About Conducting a Title Search in Georgia

Conducting a title search in Georgia is critical in many real estate matters. Learn more in this comprehensive guide.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Faulkner Law, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on January 12, 2022.

Title searches can be incredibly useful tools during real estate transactions. Let’s have a look at the things you need to have in mind about conducting a title search in Georgia. 

 

Understanding the Georgia Title Search Process

It’s practically everyone’s dream to own property someday, but the dream can be shattered by not undertaking the necessary steps to do a title search. 

The process of a title search can be draining, but you still need to do it before signing any contracts when buying a piece of land. With the help of a qualified attorney, a title search will help you evade unnecessary property disputes. 

This article will provide you with details on the cost, the time it takes, and how to do a title search in Georgia.

How to Do a Title Search in Georgia

A title search is the legal attempt to identify legal interests in the subject property in a real estate matter. This process generally involves researching various indices for a certain period, known as the due diligence period in GA.

You need to conduct a title search to determine the actual legal owners of the piece of land or property. Another reason is to identify liens and matters that will continue to affect the piece of property after closing.

So, how do you conduct a title search?

How to Perform a Title Search in Georgia

Technically, the documents used to perform a title search are public, and you can obtain the records from any Georgia courthouse, county assessor office, or recorder’s office. 

You can either conduct a title search by yourself or hire a real estate attorney in the state of Georgia to help you in the search, as well as other issues that may arise during the transaction.

At this time of title search, public records are reviewed to determine the rightful owner and any financial burdens available. 

Such financial burdens will include mechanic liens that need resolving before the property sale can continue or unpaid property taxes. 

A review of the title deed, property plats, judgments, and probate cases will also be done. A thorough search of the title will also likely include details about any open mortgages attached to the property.

This will help you ensure you have all the needed information to decide to purchase the subject property.

However, no matter how trained you are, you will likely miss or omit some important information or documents. Legal documents can be complex to interpret if you are not familiar with them.

That is why hiring a real estate attorney to help you out can be instrumental in ensuring the process is a success. 

A real estate attorney from Faulkner Law will help you protect your investment and retain control of your property.

What Is the Estimated Closing Cost of a Title Search in Georgia for Sellers?

Before you begin the process, you may have questions about the closing cost of a title search. Here’s what you need to know.

 

How Much Does a Title Search Cost in Georgia?

In Georgia, title search fees will vary between $100 to $200. This also applies to a municipal lien search that looks into any unrecorded property issues that are not showing in a typical search. 

An example includes sewer or solid waste balances, code violations, and open or expired permits. Please note that such municipal lien search costs vary from one municipality to the other.

Of course, you can also reduce the cost of a title search by conducting it yourself but always remember, cheap is expensive. It is better to pay an attorney, preferably from Faulkner Law Offices, to help limit the likelihood of oversights that could cost you later on.

 

Who Pays for the Cost in the State of Georgia?

At the end of the process, you should receive an easy-to-follow report on all the documents connected to the property. This will include the highlights of any encumbrances that would lead to any issues. 

The cost of doing a title search is entirely negotiable. If you are the buyer, you can negotiate with the seller on who will pay for the cost of the title search. 

Average Time for a Real Estate Title in Georgia

A search can take a few hours, but in most cases, a search takes between ten to fourteen days. 

 

How Long Does Title Search Take? A Few Factors May Apply

Technically, the older the home, the longer the search will take. The difference is that a newer home has lesser documentation compared to an old home. 

There is also more work that needs to be done to clear the property. This is evident if there is a long cast of owners and transactions that involve the property, past property line disputes, or home equity loans against it.

A title search will generally involve obtaining all records available on the property from multiple sources, which can also delay the process.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that in rare cases, a search can go back as far as 50 years if needed to determine the root deed and review every subsequent property transfer.

 

What Happens If Issues Surface During the Search?

Be aware that a title search will uncover more than it should in some cases. If your estate planning attorney in Alpharetta happens to come across such, there are three options to choose from.

However, this will depend on what is allowed in the purchase contract. The three options include:

  • Asking the seller to resolve the matter
  • Asking the seller to compensate you
  • Walking away from the deal

What Shows Up on a Property Title Search in the State of Georgia?

As mentioned above, a title search can uncover much-buried information. So it is essential to ensure the property shows clear and accessible ownership. If not, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

In most cases, what will generally show up on a property title search include:

  • Outstanding property taxes
  • Liens against the property
  • Easements of any kind

Seek Help With Your Title Search Today

 

A title search, being the one essential piece to the home buying process, must be taken seriously.

The best way to feel comfortable about your property is by understanding the ins and outs of the whole title search process. With more knowledge about the property, you will look forward to your new property.

At Faulkner Law, we have extensive experience in both the legal and real estate fields. We will help you maneuver through your journey of owning or buying a home by helping you through searching the piece of land.

We also provide you with a current owner search which will, in turn, provide details on any judgments and liens against the current owner if need be.

You can rest assured that our responsive and powerful real estate attorneys will do their best to ensure you are satisfied with the results of your title search. To get started, reach out to us today for a free consultation and learn more about our services.

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