Title research for real estate in Washington is both an art and a science, one part detective work, one part legal analysis.
Most unsuspecting buyers believe that their title insurance policy will ensure a straightforward conveyance of ownership. Sometimes a title policy does, but often it doesn’t.
What Does Title Insurance Cover
Designed to provide real estate buyers with peace of mind, the first title policy was issued in Philadelphia in 1876. For more than two centuries, buyers across the United States have relied on title insurance companies to protect against title-related defects, such as clerical errors, liens, unpaid contractor bills, building permit snafus, and more. For many real estate transactions in Washington, title insurance offers adequate protection. When it doesn’t, however, the problems that arise from title issues can get messy, drawn out, and costly.
What Doesn’t Title Insurance Cover
Few buyers are aware of this, but there can be a slew of burdens placed on a property that aren’t covered in title insurance policies. Known as “title insurance exceptions,” these are rights that have been granted to another person or entity, and they can have far-reaching impacts on the value of the property, as well as your ability to use and enjoy it.
What Are Title Insurance Exceptions
Title insurance exceptions, simply put, are limits on a title policy’s coverage. As exceptions, they’re specific items that aren’t covered, yet they’re found on virtually every property in Washington State. Some exceptions, such as utility easements, are common and harmless. Other title insurance exceptions, however, can be extensive and restrictive.
Title Research For Real Estate
Our real estate lawyers have the experience and expertise to perform meticulous title research for properties in Washington State, quickly and for a reasonable fee.
When we conduct title research for real estate in Washington, among other things, we look for:
- deed restrictions
- tax liens and judgments
- easements and agreements (for water rights, mineral rights, and oil and gas rights)
- zoning and land use restrictions
- shared road and right-of-way agreements
- surveys and plats
- building restrictions
- encroachments and boundary line disputes
- covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs)
- building permits and pre-existing code violations
- conservation easements and restrictions
- flood zones and wetlands
- tribal laws and regulations
Title Research Solutions
Our popular legal solutions for title research are TIER and TIER Plus. With TIER (title insurance exception review), we perform title research by looking for public-record documents that have been recorded at the County Recorder’s Office. With TIER Plus, you custom-design our legal analysis to answer any question you have about the public documents record for a parcel of land.