Friday, July 20, 2012

Researching Quitclaim Deeds

How to Check the Status of a Property's Title

Real estate transactions involving quitclaim deeds have become popular in the sale of bank-owned properties and especially with low-value homes in depressed markets. When a property changes ownership with the issuance a quitclaim deed, the seller is transferring the parcel with no warranty as to the status of the title.

When a property is up for auction on an online venue and will be conveyed via quitclaim deed, interested buyers must understand that the parcel may carry delinquent taxes, liens and encumbrances, which will be assumed by the winner bidder after the sale. Homes issued on quitclaim deeds are often found listed in the $1 No Reserve category on Bid4Assets.

Here are some free and easy tips on researching property titles:

  • Contact the County Treasurer/Tax Collector's Office
    • Verify the amount of back taxes
    • Learn what payment options are offered and in what timeframe
    • Contact information can usually be found online
    • Some county websites allow you to search by property to obtain instant tax information
  • Contact the County Recorder's Office
    • Request information on any notices or violations that were recorded in association with the property in question
  • Contact the County's Code Compliance Division
    • Confirm whether any notices have been issued against the property
    • Citations may include debris or weed abatement, demolition liens, a notice of condemnation, etc.


Ordering a title search from a reputable provider is the safest way to check the status of a property's title, and will give you peace of mind when you are bidding on a property at auction.

Here are some well known title search companies:

*Bid4Assets has no affiliation with the listed companies and does not recommend or endorse any particular title company

Be sure to find a title company branch in the same market as the property you are researching, and to confirm how long it will take to perform a title search, to ensure that you'll receive the information in time to place your bid.

While it takes time and sometimes money to research properties effectively, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance."