What is opinion of title?
A common legal term used in real estate, opinion of title is defined as a property’s title deed, the validity of which has been attested by an attorney.
A clear understanding of what opinion of title means is essential for a smooth transaction when purchasing a property.
Let’s dive deeper into the opinion of title definition, as it has multiple utilities, including verifying a lien status, an easement arrangement, oil deposits, incursions, drilling acquisitions and more.
Before we learn how opinion of title works, let’s explore how to obtain one.
An opinion of title is issued by an attorney through a document called a title report. The report will contain the identity of all current title owners, lienholders and any possible claimants to the property.
In order for title companies to get this report they must go through the title search process, which sketches out the chain of ownership. The cost of the property title search is on the person purchasing the property.
The attorney attesting the opinion of title needs to examine the abstract of title (a summary of all documents affecting the title) and provide an opinion on the seller and the property, and report details of their search regarding the property, mentioning any existing restraint against the title.
Several defects can appear on the opinion of title, such as debts or liens, surprise heirs, forgeries, errors in the public record or deeds of trust, invalid power of attorney, probations, or fragmented chain of title.
Opinion of title examples
To better explain the opinion of title, let us take a look at an example.
Often, an opinion of title is required when purchasing property. A title report is pulled out during the purchase process to check any information available on the property. The report gives information on current ownership, manner of the title held, constraints in sales and other liens that might impact a sale and getting a loan or mortgage facility.