Basic level real estate service would be delivering you the documents involved in title research and the insurance binder and letting you wade through dozens of pages on your own. Believe it or not, that’s the approach many real estate agents take, and many don’t even give the documents a cursory once–over. It’s true that properties that have changed hands before, generally don’t have major title issues, but you can never know for sure without reviewing the documents involved.
There are a few sections at the front of the title insurance commitment that summarize what’s included and can give you a quick overview to guide you to the most important items first, or those of most concern. These two sections are the “Requirements,” and the “Exceptions.” Requirements are things the title company says must be done or criteria met before their binder is good and title insurance will be issued. Generally, these are pretty cut-and-dried, such as the seller paying off any mortgages or liens against the property, paying current taxes due, etc.
The “Exceptions” are where you’ll find the things that could be a problem for you, such as those restrictions. However, some people aren’t quite up-to-speed on what an exception is and what it means that an item is excepted. Most of the benefit of title insurance comes from protection from threats to your ownership or things that come up about property lines or encroachments. When something is already recorded at the courthouse, the title company will not cover you against it in the future, as it’s a “done deal,” and normally can’t be changed.
There are deadlines for objections to what you find that could result in you changing your mind and wanting to purchase another property instead, so don’t hesitate to get right to the examination of this document and the attachments and ask any questions to me or the title company when needed.