Property title search isn't only accessible and made available to real estate professionals and those in the mortgage industry. It's important to know that it is part of the public record. Which means everyone has the right to know who owns the title to a certain property and what type of liens are there on that property. For example, a mortgage on a property would show up on the property title record, so would a construction lien put up by a construction company that did work and setup a payment plan.
Do not rely on MLS data or what your real estate agent tells you. Be sure to do a thorough property title search of a home you are considering buying. Property title records can be housed at various places, such as; the county recorder's office, city hall, your county's courthouse or a specific city or county department.
Property tax records are also a helpful source to find out the owner of a specific property. Almost all counties across the country maintain records of the property tax owed and collected.
Uses for Property Title Search
Here's a possible scenario that would explain the value of searching for a property's title. If you knew the seller of a property was going through a divorce (marriage/divorce records are part of the public record too), you would not offer full price knowing the seller is more motivated to sell. In another situation, you can find out how long the seller has owned the home and at what price did they purchase it for originally. This can help in a short sale situation if you believe the seller of the property is underwater. Underwater means they owe more on their mortgage than what the property is actually worth.
Most importantly you are empowered with a tool in your hand that many people transacting in real estate don't know it's existence. Imagine how much of an advantage such information could provide in helping you get the best deal. Transparency is great and the fact that property title is part of the public record is a phenomenal!