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Ever Wonder How A Title Search Works? We Asked A Pro

Posted on Friday, November 04, 2011

Last weekend I learned my cousin conducted her own title search through county records in the midst of a drawn out property dispute on her property. In these days of foreclosed properties and news related to clear real estate titles we thought it would be interesting to learn more about the title search process.

Here in Naples, I had a chance to meet with Karen Kohler of Access Title to learn more about the title company business so important to us at REALTORS. We asked her – “How does a title search work anyway?” Here is what Karen has to say:


There are various methods by which title to a parcel of real property can be examined.

Direct Search

In some areas of the country, title companies or lawyers retained by the customer go directly to the county records when conducting a title search. In others, title companies maintain copies of those records in “title plants,” which are located right in the company’s offices.

In some parts of the country, predominantly in the northeast, the counties’ records are maintained in Grantor/Grantee books that index properties by seller’s and buyer’s names and are laborious to search. In some states, the county real estate records are indexed in a Tract Index similar to a title company’s title plant. A tract index indexes properties by the property location, i.e., lot number, and if reliable, title companies may use them instead of going to the expense of building their own title plants.

Title Plant Examination

The other method of title searching is called the Title Plant Examination. The title examiner makes the search from the company’s title plant records. The plant contains a duplicate of the “public records”, which has been reorganized and indexed in a more useful fashion. This means that once the searcher locates the property, the searcher has instant access to all instruments affecting that property.

This method of title search has been used in most metropolitan areas since the advent of title insurance. It requires that the title insurer or its agent own a title or abstract plant.

Title Examination

When the search is completed, copies of all pertinent documents, tax searches, name searches, etc., are sent to a title officer. It is the officer’s responsibility to examine those items and arrive at a conclusion as to who owns the property and what encumbrances or defects exist. The officer may also set out certain requirements to clear up any problems disclosed by the search and examination.

Thank you Karen! Stay tuned for future writings about Title Insurance and its meaning for our Naples real estate clients right here at Naples Best Addresses.

And as always … tell us what you think! What are you seeing in the title search area?




No legal advice or suggestions are being given in this Blog and the writing of this Blog are intended for the sole use of our clients.


Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples.  After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan.  Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full time over all others.


Mark Goebel, PA


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