Before you can buy, sell or finance a home or commercial building, it’s essential to make sure the title to it is clear. So as soon as the contract comes in, our order for a title search goes out (along with instructions on what kind of search is needed). Because of our strong relationship with our title searchers, and because they work out of the courthouses, that search is very likely to start immediately. They search the chain of title, usually back 40 years. Do any of the deeds (or wills and trusts relating to them) contain improper information? Are there outstanding judgments or liens against the property? Are there easements? Some 25% of title searches uncover some kind of problem, and whenever one arises we work with the sellers, the buyers, their realtors and their attorneys to resolve them. Once we have all the information, we prepare a written title commitment, checking the title information for completeness and accuracy and taking note of any requirements that must be satisfied before closing. We also compare the title commitment to the contract, the closing instructions, the mortgage commitment, and other documents to make sure all the information – the name and address and dollar amounts, for example – are consistent.