Questions about Title

I’m really confused about the title to the property I’m buying. You sent me the title report from the title company, but it looks like pages of disclosures and stuff about what they won’t cover and aren’t responsible for. The rest of it is “exceptions”. I don’t know what any of that means and there are some things in these exceptions that look confusing and even could be a problem.

Most buyers never look at the title documents and therefore lose the chance to discover issues and problems as well as benefits to the property they are buying. You will sign off on this report so if you don’t understand it you need to ask. I am not a title officer, but I read every word of these reports and call the title company with questions.

I’ve read hundreds of title reports, so some things are virtually identical in all of them. You are right that there are disclosures and the usual disclaimers. The point is that as the buyer, you are solely responsible for reading and accepting what is written in that report. Easements, government requirements, covenants, and any extraordinary exceptions should be well understood before you move forward.

I always use the title addendum when I write an offer. I’ve seen enough problematic title issues to believe that having the buyers totally happy with the title report is important. Real estate brokers are encouraged by our industry not to even read the title. We are told that since we are not expert at understanding the documents we should refrain from interpreting them for buyer. We are not attorneys.

That may be true, but if I see that a neighbor has the right to cut down your trees for a view or build a road through your property or require you to pay into a maintenance agreement I will call it to your attention. You have just a few short days to be satisfied with the report so use your time wisely. Ask me specific questions and talk to the title officer or to your own attorney.


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