Before closing on a house, you'll need a title search to prove that the title is clear for you to take ownership. However, issues like debts and clerical errors can make your claim to the house uncertain. It may cause a delay that may lead to the deal falling through. 

What Is a Clear Title?

A clear title means that there are no liens on the property. Liens are mortgages, encumbrances, and/or debts stemming from unpaid child support, taxes, or projects completed by a contractor. Sometimes, pending lawsuits or incomplete probate proceedings will also count as liens, which need to be resolved for a sale to move forward. 

A reputable title company can conduct a title search to determine if title is clear. A title search is usually accomplished through an investigation of public records on your property. The records include documentation by the county registrar, circuit or district courts pertaining to real estate, and real estate tax collection offices.  Title professionals and title clearing attorneys have the knowledge and experience to find the documents, notice minute errors, and resolve them before they can delay the selling process.  

What Are Some Issues That Show up in a Title Search?

Title SearchA lien is the most common title issue, but it is not the only one. Those with common names may face difficulties. Someone in your community may have a name similar to your name, and they could have a lien on them. The lien may attach to any property owned by the person named in the lien.  If your name is similar, it may look as if  the lien was placed on your property rather than theirs. The situation can be resolved by filing an identity affidavit or a Not One and The Same Affidavit.  The Title Company usually has a staff attorney who can assist with this documentation.

If your home had a previous owner who passed away before the house was sold, their heirs could claim rights to the property, even if they went unnamed. 

The boundary of the property should also be established for the new owner. This is accomplished by a location survey which is an additional expense but can be worth the investment..  If there are disputes filed in the public record, the title will not be clear. If this occurs, title professionals may need to obtain a boundary or location survey from a land surveyor to properly determine the property line. The cost is an additional expense which can be absorbed by the Buyer or the Seller for a smooth closing and peace of mind.

There also may be mistakes made in the details of the home's deed. A clerical or filing error is minor, but it is time-consuming to resolve. Contacting a title search professional early in the selling/buying process will provide enough time for them to do the research and assist with correcting any issues well before closing. 

Title Clearing can be time consuming and, at times, expensive.  You should request a quote for the cost of any fees associated with clearing your title if issues are found.  These fees are sometimes required to be paid in advance to accomplish Clear Title in time for your closing.

An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance may be purchased from your Title Professional at closing which can protect you and your House Title in the future.  Ask your Title Professional about the benefits of an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance.


Conducting a title search early on will prevent any issues that might delay your home purchase. The professionals at All Points Title & Closing will simplify the real estate process so you can feel confident in your transaction. Based in Hamilton, OH, they provide exemplary services to their clients. They also have an in-house attorney experienced in title clearing who will notice errors and can, if requested, help resolve them. For more information on their title services, visit their website. To schedule an appointment, call (513) 863-7600.