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What to Expect in a Title Search Report in Florida

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Sep 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

Are you in the process of conducting a title search in Florida but don't know what to expect in the report? Here is what a title search in Florida includes.

Key Takeaways

  • A title search report outlines the history of a piece of real estate and any outstanding issues that could affect ownership
  • The report includes property owner information, legal description, liens
  • It also outlines tax information, any easements, any restrictions, covenants
  • Partnering with a professional and experienced real estate attorney will help ensure you are getting an accurate title search report

Nothing beats the joy and excitement of finally finding your dream property. After months or even years of searching, you finally found the perfect place that ticks all your boxes. The next step is ensuring the property is yours for the taking. The best way to do this is by ordering a title search report.

title search report is essentially a snapshot of the property's ownership history. It includes information on the current owner, any outstanding mortgages or liens on the property, and any easements or encumbrances that may be attached to it. In Florida, a title search is done by a licensed real estate attorney.

Since buying a property is a huge investment, you want to be as thorough as possible in your research. A title search report will give you a good idea of what you're getting into and help you make an informed decision. The information that follows will help you understand what is included in a title search report in Florida, and the importance of having one done.

How a title search is conducted in Florida

A title search in Florida involves assessing and examining a property's public records. This includes deeds, mortgages, liens, foreclosures, and tax assessments. The goal is to determine if any title issues could potentially complicate your ownership of the property.

Once all relevant public records have been gathered, the tax property attorney will compile them into a report. The report will include the property's legal description and ownership. It will also show any outstanding mortgages or liens on the property.

If there are no red flags, the title search report will give you the green light to proceed with the purchase. However, if there are any issues with the title, you may need to investigate further or even walk away from the deal.

What is included in a title search report in Florida

A Florida title search report contains several key pieces of information regarding Florida real estate and is conducted to assess the legal status and ownership of the property. Here is a rundown of what you can expect to find in a Florida title search report:

Apparent title and property owner

The first section of the Florida title search report will include information about the person who currently owns the property, based on a review of public records. 

The entity listed as the current owner is who will be selling the property to you and should match the name listed on the sales contract. If it doesn't, there may be some discrepancies with the property's title that will need to be investigated further before proceeding with the sale.

Legal description of property

The legal description of the property is a physical report used to identify the piece of Florida real estate in question. It outlines in the official state records a thorough description of the property, including the specific location of the property. 

This is important when verifying that the person selling you the property owns the real estate they are trying to sell. This section also provides the book type and page number of the public records for easier reference.

Muniments of title

Under the muniments of title – essentially, the chain of ownership of a property – you will find the history of ownership for the property as documented in public records. This will include a list of all previous owners and any companies or organizations interested in the property, such as a mortgage lender. All issues litigated in the past that could affect the title of the property will also be listed here.

Mortgages, modifications, and assignments

Mortgages, modifications, and assignments are all legal documents that will be recorded in the public records and pertain to any money owed on the property. This section will list any outstanding mortgages or loans against the property and provide the lender's name. It will also outline:

  • When the mortgage was taken out
  • The original amount of the mortgage
  • The terms of the mortgage
  • Whether the mortgage is current or in default
  • Where this information is recorded in the public records

Without a thorough title search, you could be unaware of a mortgage on the property that must still be paid even after you purchase the home.

Liens and other encumbrances

Under Florida real estate law, a lien refers to the right to keep possession of someone else's property until a debt owed is paid in full. This could apply to homeowner's association dues, unpaid property taxes, child support payments, or even judgments against the previous owner. 

If there are any liens on the property, the current owner must satisfy that debt before selling the property to you. You will also find any other encumbrances on the property, which are any rights or interests that someone other than the owner has in the real estate. 

For instance, if there is an outstanding water or utility bill, those companies have the right to shut off services to the home until the bill is paid.

Easements and title restrictions

Any easements or title restrictions placed on the property will also be included in the title search report. This may limit how the property can be used and allows access to third parties for specific activities.

An easement is a right to use someone else's land for a specific purpose, such as placing power lines or a pipeline across the property. 

Title restrictions are any limitations placed on the use of the real estate, such as the sale, transfer, or development of the property.

Tax information

The last section of the title search report will include any tax information for the property. For the year that the title search was conducted, you will find the status of the annual property taxes. If the previous owner has not paid their property taxes, you could be held responsible after purchasing it. 

You will also find other key tax information, including:

  • Current tax status – whether paid or unpaid
  • Amount of tax paid
  • Gross amount of taxes due in the year in question
  • Name and address of the tax collector

Taxes are one of the most important financial aspects of owning property, so you must understand the tax history and status of the real estate you are interested in purchasing. It's possible they could become your responsibility after closing on the deal.

Get reliable help with title search report in Florida

Owning property in Florida is a significant investment, so it is crucial that you understand what you're getting into before making a purchase. A title search report will give you a clear picture of the property and any outstanding issues that could become your responsibility. 

However, without adequate knowledge about the ins and outs of title searches and buyer closing documents in Florida, you could easily miss key information and end up closing a blind deal that will cost you dearly in the future.

To ensure you're getting an accurate title search report, it is essential to seek the help of a reliable and reputable real estate attorney. PeytonBolin is a professional real estate law firm experienced in title searches and title reports in Florida. We will work with you to understand your needs and help you obtain the most accurate title search report. Give us a call today for affordable and reliable title search report services in Florida.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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