When you decide to purchase a house or land, you need to make sure that the title to that real estate is free from defects. The legal term “defects” refers to anything attached to the land, such as another person's rights, that could affect how you use the land or decrease its value. You should get a preliminary title search for your property when you prepare to make the purchase, but you shouldn’t rely on that alone. You will need to conduct your own property search. You could, of course, hire someone, but that costs money. Here are some ways to do it for free.

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Visit the Courthouse of the County or District in Which the Land Is Situated

Chains of title and deed information are available for your perusal if you visit the courthouse. You must go to the courthouse where the land is located. In some cases, you may have to go through the different papers by hand, noting the specific transfers of the title and any requirements that went along with it. This form of title search is time consuming, but it is free.

Visit the County Assessor

Most states now have additional tools available for free property title searches. You can find these on your state government sites under "county assessor." You will have to select your county, and you can then search through the listed properties. Bear in mind that in many counties, this information is incomplete. If you don't find your property through the title search, you will need to visit the courthouse in person.

Remember that you should always be able to find your property. If the property does not show up in the search, that means that the information is either mislabeled or it is not in the current system. It doesn't mean that there are no restrictions on it or other similar issues.

Find a real estate lawyer for more help doing a property title search.

Get started Create Your Affidavit of Title Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Create Your Affidavit of Title Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.