What is an abstractor in real estate?

What is an Abstractor in Real Estate?

An abstractor in real estate, also known as a title abstractor, plays a crucial role in the property buying process. They are responsible for creating a summary report of the history of a piece of real estate, which includes a detailed record of all legal documents and transactions affecting the property.

This report, known as an abstract of title, serves several purposes:

  1. Verification of Ownership: It verifies the current owner's legal right to the property by tracing the ownership history back through previous owners to the original source of title.
  2. Identification of Liens and Encumbrances: The abstract reveals any existing liens, mortgages, easements, restrictions, or other encumbrances that might affect the property. This is important for understanding any limitations on the use of the property or claims against it.
  3. Legal and Tax Issues: It includes information on any legal actions or tax issues associated with the property, which could impact the transfer of the property.
  4. Facilitation of Title Insurance: The abstract provides the necessary information for a title insurance company to issue a title insurance policy, which protects the buyer and lender from future claims against the property.

The role of an abstractor requires meticulous research and attention to detail, as they must review and summarize a wide range of documents, including deeds, court records, property and land records, and other legal documents. Their work ensures that buyers are fully informed of any potential issues with the property before completing the purchase.

What is the difference between an abstract of title and a title search?

An abstract of title is a detailed report that summarizes the history of a property, including all legal transactions. A title search is the process of retrieving documents evidencing events in the history of a piece of real estate to determine relevant interests in and regulations concerning that property.

Is the role of an abstractor and a title agent the same?

No, their roles differ. An abstractor focuses on researching and summarizing the property's history. A title agent, on the other hand, is involved in issuing title insurance policies based on the findings of the abstractor, ensuring that the title is clear for transfer to the new owner.

How long does it take to create an abstract of title?

The time to create an abstract can vary widely depending on the complexity of the property's history, the availability of records, and the jurisdiction. It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

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