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Current owner title search in pa for a sheriff sale.

Discussion in 'Liens & Encumbrances' started by Robert LaBrie, Dec 26, 2015.

  1. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am looking at a lot of sheriff sales around my surrounding counties. State College area. I think I have got search process down but can’t get over the nervousness of getting screwed on a deal because I have missed something. I am thinking you are an expert in the title search process. I am only looking at current owners, leveraging the worked performed by the abstract company in the previous transaction.


    Overview:


    1. From the sheriff sale list get the prothonotary case number.

    2. Pull the case from the prothonotary, and the mortgage’s instrument number/Book and Page. As well the names of the defendants.

    3. Perform a search on the defendant(s)name in the prothonotary.

    4. If there are any judgments against the defendant(s) pull those files.
      1. How do I know these are attaché to property I am bidding on?
    5. Go over to the recorder of deeds and lookup the mortgage using the (instrument number/Book and Page). From the mortgage get the following, parcel number for the property/PI# and (instrument number/Book and Page) for the deed.

    6. Look at the deed used in the property transfer.
      1. Is there any language used in the deed to indicate property is free and clear? I know a warranty deed is only suppose to be used in this event but is that good enough. A lot of the properties I look at are conveyed via quitclaim from loved to loved one. Such as a mom to son.
    7. Ensure said mortgage is first position by either being the first mortgage on the property after the deed, or by having all other mortgages being satisfied.

    8. Basically ignore mortgage assignments so long as they chain together.

    9. Call tax collector, water and sewer for all outstanding bills.

    What are your thoughts in general? What about aliases. Are there lists of for aliases to consider? What am I missing?

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Simple solution:

    Make any offer contingent on a title search.

    Hire a professional title/escrow company.

    By an owner's title policy.

    Otherwise, do it on the cheap and take the risk.
     
  3. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your replay. I mentioned in my initial post I am looking at many homes coming up for sheriff sale. In such cases buyer is unable to make purchase contingent on a title search.
    It is not cost effective to pay for a title search, even a search limited to a current owner, when 90% are not going be bid on for various reasons.

    Can you speak to the listed process?
    Thanks.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    OK, I can understand that you wouldn't want to spend money on title searches under the circumstances. I wouldn't either.

    I believe that Prothonotary is unique to Pennsylvania so I'll proceed on that presumption.

    Referring to your list:

    4.1 - Read the following PA statute regarding judgment liens:

    231 Pa. Code Rule 3023. Judgment. Lien. Duration.

    When you search for public records at the Recorder, look for recorded judgments under the property owner's name. The judgment will be a lien on any property that the person owns even if it doesn't identify the property.

    6.1 - I suggest you go back to previous owners, all the way to when the property was first built and deeded to the first owner. That's probably the only way to pick up a deed restriction or title aberation.

    7 - Yes, you'll want to look at earlier mortgages or deeds of trusts from previous owners to make sure all of them have been properly released.

    That's all I can think of. You might get other responses with additional advice.

    What do you mean by aliases?
     
  5. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks again for the response. I am concerned a mortgage or lien has been recorded against the property I am interested in, but the name used to record it is different from what I am expecting. An example is Robert vs Bob. I would think there is some sort of agreed list.

    I am currently looking at a Pa county web site and a house that I bought at a foreclosure, 4 years ago. I find is unsettling because although I can find the deed transfer when searching under my company name I can not pull up any other documents under the previous owners name. That includes both the prothonotary and land records. I know I should be pulling up a bunch of docs on the previous owners such as mortgage and mortgage foreclosure.
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    There isn't. The best you can do to eliminate common names is to read the legal description of the property and compare it from one document to another.

    My experience tells me that the issue of shortened names like Bob for Robert will be rare as legal documents generally use a full legal name. You're more likely to come up with Robert Smith (with no middle name or initial) and Robert _ Smith (with a plethora of middle names and initials).

    So, you either read the documents and compare the legal descriptions of the property or you avoid homes owned by the Smiths and Jones (and the like) of the world. ;)

    I have no explanation for that. You might have to make a trip to those offices and physically check their computers or micro-fiches.

    I had to do that back in the 80s and 90s. The offices were downtown, parking was a bitch and not cheap, and I had to pay outrageous fees for copies. Nowadays, when I don't need it much, it's all online.
     
  7. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for your response.
     
  8. Robert LaBrie

    Robert LaBrie Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the response.
     

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