Title Search: Is this the Real Estate Sales Professional or Lawyer’s Responsibility?

geo1The grand debate – whose responsibility is what? On most real estate transactions there is a real estate sales professional, a mortgage agent/broker, a lender and a real estate lawyer. Each individual has distinct roles but there is some overlap in each.

A property title search is a classic example of this overlap.

Before we can explore this we first need to clear up what people mean when they say “title search”. A title search is in fact the function that the lawyer performs on closing that includes looking at the property’s transfer history, registrations, tax status, water status, survey and more… Lenders often require title insurance to protect the client from short comings in this regard as a result of a lawyer missing something.

When you hear mortgage agents, real estate professionals and even banks referring to a title search they often are referring to the Parcel Register*.

The Parcel Register* is an aspect of the title search that used to be most often performed by lawyers but in recent years have started being requested at earlier stages in a real estate deal by the real estate sales professional, mortgage agent or lender.

Why? Because the Parcel Register* reveals, as of the date of the search, who the legal homeowners are, the legal description of the property, the property identification number of the property, type of ownership, percentage of ownership, dates, registration numbers and amounts of registered encumbrances like liens, charges (mortgages), transfers and more…

The debate comes in because there is a cost associated to requesting a Parcel Register* and so whose responsibility is it to request one? Really it is not a question of responsibility – it’s a question of doing the best job for your client and due diligence to protect yourself by not wasting time on bad deals. A real estate sales professional should be looking at a Parcel Register* as part of their workflow while the lawyer should as their responsibility.

The Parcel Register* will let you know immediately if you are dealing with the legal homeowner and also if there is enough home equity in the property to pay you – whether it is their home or a home being purchased.

Obtaining a Parcel Register* shouldn’t be viewed as a hassle or someone else’s job when it is in fact an opportunity that only stands to benefit you.

The upside here is that Parcel Registers* are easy to obtain online if you’re a GeoWarehouse customer – just add this to your regular due diligence process and you’re off to the races!

Not a GeoWarehouse customer? What are you waiting for? Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today to find out more about all the great tools waiting for you.

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