Common Title Defects a Title Search May Find

common title defects

A title search can uncover the following common title defects.

Title insurance is a useful tool for any new homeowner. However, before you can procure title insurance, a title company will conduct a search and investigate the property’s history. This search is done to ensure no title defects may prevent you from clear ownership of your new home. Title insurance then protects you if any unfound defects should arise in the future. Title insurance is helpful for unusual title defects, while a title search can usually uncover the following common title defects and resolve them. 

Errors in Public Record

Clerical or filing errors are the more common of title defects. Human error happens, but if the error is not spotted, it could affect your property’s deed or survey and be costly to resolve. It’s best to catch these errors before it’s too late. 

Unknown Liens

If the previous owner did not pay all of their bills, banks or other financing companies could place liens on your property for those unpaid debts. This can happen even after you have closed the sale, so you want to catch these liens before you become caught in someone else’s debt. 

Illegal Deeds

Unfortunately, these title defects are more common than you would assume. A prior deed may have been associated with someone who was lying about their information. For instance, if a minor claimed the deed or someone who claimed to be single but was married. This misinformation could affect the enforceability of prior deeds, affecting previous and potentially present ownership. 

Missing Heirs

When a person dies, the home may go to their heirs or someone named in the will. Sometimes, those heirs will be missing or unknown at the time of death. Family members may then contest the will for the right to own the property. These scenarios could affect your right to own the property, especially if these missing heirs are uncovered after you have claimed ownership. 


Unfortunately, common title defects can include forged documents. These documents may be forged, fabricated, and still filed within the public record. Once the forgeries are discovered, your rights to your new home could be at risk. 

Before you complete your home purchase, a title company will search for these title defects and work to resolve them. Once the title appears clear and available, you can claim ownership. Title insurance will then protect you in the case of uncovered heirs, forgeries, or other defects that need to be resolved. 

A Title Company You Can Trust: Colony Title

At Colony Title, we will help you through the process of getting your property’s title and help you avoid the pitfalls of hidden costs while you buy your home. We are also well trained in identifying any and all errors in public records and helping you resolve them. We specialize in real estate title insurance in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., and we will perform an expert title search, check through all past documentation, and examine records for any fraud or forgery. For more information on how we can get you into the home of your dreams, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 884-1160. To get more updates on housing markets and how to get into your home, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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