the role of title in the loan application process

Back to all blog posts

You’ve started the process of buying a new home or refinancing your current one, and your loan application has been submitted to underwriting. Now, what else goes on behind the scenes? One of the most important steps of the mortgage process is the title piece. The role of title in the mortgage loan application process is crucial as it ensures the property being financed has a clear and unencumbered title, mitigating potential legal and financial complications. 

Let’s break it down!

Title Search: Before approving a mortgage loan, a thorough title search is conducted. This involves examining public records to trace the ownership history of the property. The goal is to identify any existing liens, judgments, or claims on the property that might affect its ownership.

Verification of Ownership: The title search confirms the current property owner and ensures that the individual or entity selling the property has the legal right to do so. This step is vital for protecting the lender and the borrower from potential legal disputes regarding property ownership.

Clearing Title Issues: If any issues are identified during the title search, such as outstanding liens or disputes, they need to be resolved before the loan can be approved. This may involve paying off existing debts, obtaining lien releases, or addressing legal matters through the appropriate channels.

Title Insurance: Lenders typically require the borrower to purchase title insurance. Title insurance protects the lender (and sometimes the buyer) from financial loss due to title defects or other issues that may not have been discovered during the title search.

Property Survey: The title process often includes a property survey to confirm the property’s boundaries and identify any encroachments or easements. This information is crucial for understanding the property’s physical characteristics and ensuring that there are no boundary disputes.

Recording Documents: Once the mortgage is approved, the final step involves recording the necessary documents with the appropriate government office. This typically includes the mortgage deed and other legal documents that establish the lender’s security interest in the property.

Ownership Transfer: At the closing, the title is formally transferred from the seller to the buyer. This transfer is documented through a deed, and the lender’s mortgage interest is recorded. The title company or attorney handling the closing ensures that all legal requirements are met.

Post-Closing Title Policy: Following the closing, the buyer receives a title insurance policy. This policy provides protection against any undiscovered title issues that may arise in the future. It is a crucial component in the risk management strategy for both the lender and the homeowner.

In summary, the role of title in the mortgage loan approval process is to establish a clear and marketable title, ensuring that the property can be legally transferred to the borrower and that the lender’s security interest is adequately protected. This process helps mitigate risks associated with property ownership and supports a smooth and legally sound real estate transaction.

Get My Free Rate Quote
view all posts