What Do I Need to Know About Titles?

Interested in bidding on an auction property but want to find out some information about the title before making a decision? That’s a great way to do your due diligence before committing to a bid.  

Where can I find a title?

A title document can usually be found on an auction property’s webpage. The title often includes information such as who the current seller is; whether the title is clean or has judgements, liens, or other encumbrances associated with it; and the property’s sales history.   

Of course, this is just a snapshot of what the title looks like at the time the seller registers the property for auction. There could be liens, judgements, or other encumbrances added to the title after a property is registered for an auction. So, be sure to check out the most recent version of the title before bidding begins.  

What else do you need to know? Here are some pro investor tips to help you when dealing with property titles: 

  • We highly suggest developing a working relationship with a title company. Title companies let you request a copy of the most recent title for any properties you are interested in bidding on. This will give you an up-to-date picture of whether the title is clean, or if there are liens and judgements you might be responsible for paying.  
    Note that requesting a copy of a title usually comes with an additional fee, so be sure to ask your title company about this before putting in your request. 
  • You may be responsible for paying any liens, judgements, or other encumbrances on a title as part of your closing costs, depending on the type of property you win at auction.  
    Be sure to read the title and contract on a property’s webpage to understand what will be included. 
  • For occupied properties, buyers are usually responsible for all costs associated with a title (e.g., liens, judgements), as well as any back taxes, HOA fees that may have gone unpaid, and all expenses associated with eviction. You can find details about this information in the occupied addendum to the contract on a property’s webpage.  

The most important takeaway when it comes to titles is...read the fine print! Reviewing the property title and sample contract for a property you are interested in bidding on can help you avoid any unforeseen costs associated with the title at closing.  

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