Many people do not realize that the normal rule of thumb for title research is to search the last 60 years of records and leave it at that.

What's the problem? After all, the rule of thumb has been in place for decades.

We think this can be an issue, especially when one considers that 60 years ago only reaches back to the mid 1950s. Most of the encumbrances burdening real property are created when the property is first developed (or redeveloped). There are exceptions, of course, but in most cases that is the case. By the mid 1950s vast amounts of the local area had already been developed for decades if not centuries, and thus most encumbrances--easements or other title impacts--would be found further back in the land records than that. Truncating the search at 60 years will miss them. Does that mean they don't matter? Not at all. Depending on the nature of the document, it can be in force perpetually, whether you know of its existence or not.

Archives can shed light on title questions

Our in-house archives stretch back 100 years earlier than a 60 year search. If we have survey records covering your area of interest it is very likely they show any easements or restrictions known at the time. And because our archives are completely digital and indexed by geographic location, identifying pertinent records--even 140-year-old ones--is a snap.

I have (or am getting) Title Insurance. Why should I care?

Most real estate professionals consider title insurance--as essential as it is to prudent ownership--as merely a band-aid if a title problem erupts.

We believe it is better to identify potential issues as early as possible, and either cure them then or provide for a minimal impact on current activites. That's been the philosophy of our firm since way before any of us were on the scene, and we intend to keep it that way.



Copyright © 2015 S.J. Martenet & Co., Inc.