What is an Abstract of Title?


When interested in a home or other type of property, it’s standard to tour the property at least once, get an inspection, and ensure your finances are in order. But most people forget about one of the most important aspects of a property—it’s legal history.

The property abstract, commonly known as the abstract of title, can be a powerful tool. The abstract of title lists all legal activities and documentation related to a specific property. These include but are not limited to mortgages, property deeds, tax sales, and litigations. It also lists all previous property owners as well as the duration and change of ownership.

What does Abstract of Title mean?
When a contract of sale is authorized, your attorney examines an updated abstract which includes the recorded documentation related to the property. The abstract is a written, chronological history of the transactions that have occurred on the property. This is important as you do not want to purchase a property with liens tied to it or one with a potential claim. For example, an ex-spouse could claim ownership even if he or she is not listed on the title.

The abstract includes all liens, claims, and instruments of record with the county offices in relation to the property you intend to purchase. Your real estate attorney should review the abstract and discuss any problems that may affect your purchase of the property. It is not advised for a deed to be signed and accepted until the abstract is fully examined and all issues as shown in the attorney’s title examination have been resolved. It’s suggested to invest in title insurance to protect you from title defects that may exist and cannot be disclosed in a records search.

What does an Abstract of Title contain?
Depending on the property and its history, an abstract of title can be a large stack of paper. Documentation can include:
  • Liens. Any monies borrowed against the property, a second mortgage, and repair liens should be listed if applicable. 
  • Tax liens. Tax liens could be on the property if there is property tax debt from the previous owners. This lien takes priority over all others, and if they remain unpaid, you could lose your property. 
  • HOA (Homeowners Association) liens. A lien can be put against your property if HOA dues are unpaid, if applicable. Additionally, consult with your HOA to find out what you can or can’t do with your property (i.e. add a garage or storage shed). 
  • Easements. This area of land, usually a certain number of feet on your property line, is designated for installation and repair of utilities. The easement gives the utilities access to perform their work when needed. 
  • Deeds. The recorded history of the ownership of the land. 
  • Court Proceedings. Any court matters filed against the record owners and/or the property.

An abstract of title is an important document and step in the property buying process that should not be overlooked. Having the abstract can prevent you from owing money to liens or having another claimant block the sale. Do your due diligence - protect yourself and your purchase by requesting an abstract of title.

Guarantee Abstract has become an integral part of the real estate industry in Enid and is the only abstracter in Garfield County. We offer support with abstracts, titles, closings, as well as offer title insurance as an agent for First American Title Insurance Company. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you, call (580) 237-3136.



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