One of the most important elements of a property is its legal history. If you are interested in any property, the property abstract, which lists all the legal activities associated with a particular piece of real property, is a powerful tool. The abstract is based on documents that are tied to the property, including deeds, mortgages, litigations, tax sales and so on and so forth. It also includes a list of all the owners of the property, along with such information as the duration of their ownership and moments when it changed.

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How an Abstract Is Made

With such a vast quantity of information contained in a property abstract, certain steps have to be taken to make it manageable. One of the common methods is to prepare an abstract of title, which only includes the most important information. This condensed form of real property history typically only includes a summary of the original grant, subsequent changes in ownership and any encumbrances on the property, and finally a statement by the person preparing the abstract that it is complete and accurate.

Why It Should Matter to You

If you are interested in a property, especially if you plan to purchase it, reviewing the abstract of title is a recommended first step. Examining it can provide a lot of information about the building or parcel. Most importantly, inspecting it can reveal potential risks associated with the title to you. Errors or omissions in the property title may result in monetary damages due to liens or other causes.

Title insurance is used to protect you against such an event and will usually require an abstract as a starting point. The abstract of title includes transfers, grants, wills and conveyances, liens and encumbrances. It also provides any evidence or proof of satisfaction or other facts or information pertinent to a piece of property. All potential buyers of a property should request this to determine the status of the property.

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