Abstract of Title

What is an Abstract of Title?

An abstract of title lists and records ownership history for a particular piece of real land. Typically, it will contain documentation and details pertaining to at least the last 50 years of land ownership. A property’s restrictions or claims, such as easements, loans, mortgages, liens, real property taxes, and more, will also be listed in an abstract.

When you buy a property, you must have a full abstract in order to purchase title insurance. Nevertheless, depending on what the buyer or seller requires, many buyers and sellers will just complete a “limited certificate of title,” which covers a duration of less than 50 years. Before they will lend money or carry out any work on a property, lenders or developers will occasionally need this paperwork.


Why Is a Title Abstract Important?

Rights in land are established through title to real estate. When someone owns all of a piece of land, they are the owner of:

  • Mineral rights
  • Air space
  • Water on the land, whether it is contained or flowing
  • The right to develop a property on a piece of land

There are numerous possible rights in land, ranging from liens to estates, that are only valid throughout a person’s lifetime (and cannot pass down to heirs). You may tell if you or someone else who currently owns a piece of property has a “good and marketable title” to the property by looking at a full abstract. There are no legal flaws in this kind of title.


The Abstract of Title Contains What Kind of Information?

Literally, every activity or occurrence that affected the land will (or should) be listed in the abstract of title. You may have a mortgage on your home, which is one of the most typical examples in residential real estate.

You finance all or a portion of the property’s cost when you buy it through a bank or another financial organization. The bank then acquires an interest in the property so that, in the event that you miss a payment, they may seize it and sell it to recoup the shortfall. The abstract of the title would cover that kind of transaction. It will also include the date that the mortgage was paid off and the property was yours.

All of this information is available for other prospective buyers and anyone who wish to place a lien on the property. Other people can tell how much interest you actually have in a piece of property by looking at the abstract. When you prevail in a personal injury case, for instance, you might need to place a lien on someone’s property to make sure you get the money you are due.

Additionally, the title’s abstract will provide details on the following:

  • Restrictive covenants that define the permitted and prohibited uses of the land or property.
  • Declarations and agreements for condominiums that outline duties associated with condo living.
  • Easements that show where a previous owner granted a third-party permission to walk through, over, or under a piece of property (usually for a fee).
  • For unpaid debts, mechanics’ liens, mortgages, and tax liens are the most common types of liens (for unpaid tax bills).
  • Notices of pending litigation that may have an impact on the property, such as bankruptcy or divorce.


What Impact Does the Abstract Have on Property Transfer?

Any transfer of property results in the creation of rights, but it may also bring with it liabilities. There are various ways to transfer property, all of which include the real estate’s title. Title transfers (deeds) come in a variety of forms, including:

  • A warranty deed makes claims about the title. Technically, it does not guarantee that the title is fair and marketable, but it does declare that the seller will protect your ownership interests in the property if the title is contested by another party.
  • Similar to a warranty deed, a limited warranty deed restricts the extent to which the parties will defend the deed (such as against particular classes of people or claims)
  • A quitclaim deed is a transfer deed that simply transfers all of the seller’s rights in the property to the buyer; it makes no promises whatsoever.
  • When a person is chosen by the court in a probate case to transfer property to an heir or another party, an administrator’s deed manifests. The official term of the deed changes to “executor’s deed” if a will is included to reflect the fact that an executor, not an administrator, completes the transfer.

If you’re in a disagreement over anything that happened on someone else’s property, especially something like a slip and fall or careless security, make sure you contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney for legal help.

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