Property Title Search 101 – 5 Point Parcel Register Check

geo1When a real estate lawyer performs a property title search, one of the most critical documents they rely upon is the Parcel Register*. The Parcel Register* is a document that provides significant details about a property and its financial history. Real estate lawyers are not the only professionals who have access to Parcel Registers* – you do to.

While you likely would not perform a complete title search on a deal (that is the real estate lawyer’s role), requesting a Parcel Register* will give you great insight and enable you to identify potential problems with respect to your deal – problems that could surface later.

While there is so much information in a Parcel Register* that is useful, today we wanted to provide you with a 5 Point Parcel Register* check with some of the most important:

1. Legal Description of the Property – Verify the legal description of the property.

2. Property Ownership and Type of Ownership – Validate who is on title to the property as owners, as well as types and percentages of ownership. Sometimes other people can show up on title, even in a very small percentage of ownership, but if this happens it can present a real issue. Sometimes your client may honestly have forgotten that a parent or guarantor is on title.

3. Registered Mortgages – Review all registered mortgages, dates registered, amounts and who issued the mortgages. This can reveal if the property is encumbered which is an issue when it comes to paying closing costs from the proceeds of a sale. Discovering this at the point when a client is engaged enables you to make financial arrangements with your client.

4. Transfer History – Review the property’s transfer history to see the number of transfers, from/to information and transfer amounts. Too many transfers in a short period of time and many non-arms-length transfers could be a sign that, at the most, real estate fraud is present and, at the least, something is off and digging deeper makes sense.

5. Undischarged Encumbrances and Liens – Review the property for liens and if it seems that there are more mortgages on title than what the client told you, it could be that they are simply undischarged mortgages (not owing, but still registered). Undischarged mortgages can be a real pain because they will have to be discharged before your deal can close.

As you can see, a Parcel Register* is your frontline resource for discovery. Don’t get stuck not knowing – this could cost you time and money.

Hopefully you have found this blog helpful and please note that you can obtain a Parcel Register* right in the GeoWarehouse Store.

Not a GeoWarehouse customer? Find out why you should be! Visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

*An official product of the Ontario government pursuant to provincial land registration statutes.