Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Property Title?
A Property Title is a collection of documents that are associated with a given property, identified by a unique parcel number.

What is the Expedite Title Search Option and Availability?
The expedite title search order will be delivered in 4 business hours after the order is placed. Please note that if the order is placed over the weekend or Friday night, the search report will be available Monday morning.

When does my search have to be upgraded?
If the search was ordered as a Current Owner or Full Title Report, while ProTitleUSA discovers during the search that the chain of title surpasses 30 years, we have to upgrade the service to a 30/40-year search to ensure we deliver a chain-of-title going out of family per title research common practice. The fee for the upgrade is the difference between the 30/40-year service and the amount paid for the original report.

What is a Property Title Search?
A Property Title Search is the process of retrieving all associated documents using the owner's name, address or parcel number. There are many sources for associated documents, such as the local county clerk's office, the county recorder's office and the county tax collector's office.

When do I get my Title Search Report?
A Property Title Search Report will be available for you in 8 to 48 business hours as a single Adobe PDF file containing all relevant documents. Excluded from this are Full State Statute and Commercial Searches which are available between 12-72 business hours. Sometimes when the search is complex, the report will be available closer to 72 hours. If the order is placed during the weekend or on a holiday, the report will be available in the following 24-48 business hours.

    There are exceptions in delivering the search report in the above mentioned time-frame:
  1. Very complex searches going back many years (complex chain of title)
  2. Document retrievals from archives (dependent on clerk's turnaround)
  3. Judgment requests from the county (dependent on clerk's turnaround)
  4. Tax Collector call backs for tax information on the property
  5. Lengthy searches (mostly for commercial properties or raw land)
  6. Common name on title (includes common first/last names, Goverment/city ownership, etc. which produce excessive results)

Will you email or mail me the Title Search Report?
You will receive an email notification upon completion of the report. Using your username and password, you will be able to access the report on our site.

Will my search find all liens on the property?

Yes. If the lien is properly recorded against the property, our Title Search Report will show it. Please note that some areas have additional registries to search for liens which may result in an additional fee.

In NJ, PA, NY, MA, a tax certificate is required for tax status/tax lien verification, for an additional fee. Any information included on our reports without a certificate is not insurable and unverified.

Who do I call to discuss my Title Report?
It will be our pleasure to go over your title search with you over the phone at 888-878-8081 or by email at

I only have an APN or Parcel Number. Is this enough to perform a title search?
APN or Parcel Number is sufficient to run a title search. Enter APN or Parcel Number in the address field of the Title Search Address Order Page along with City and State.

Can I perform a title search myself?
The answer is yes; however, we do not recommend it.
A title search is performed by an experienced team of abstractors (people who find the right documents via an indexing process) often times in person, at the county offices. They have a number of years worth of experience performing title searches and know all the tricks to retrieve the required documentation.

Do I need a title search when I buy a property via sheriff's sale or foreclosure sale?
Yes. Buyers need to verify all liens and mortgages against the property before offering to bid on the property at the sheriff's sale. It is very common that the bid amount at the auction does not reflect the total lien amount against the property. All liens associated with a foreclosed property transfer to the new owner (except for certain types of sheriff's sales).

Are all documents located in a single file at the county office?
No. Documents are recorded by the county recorder in chronological order; therefore, careful indexing is required to assemble all required documents for a given property.

What is the legal description of the property?
A legal description of a property identifies the particular parameters of a piece of property. It can be part of a subdivision or metes & bounds (boundary lines of land, with their terminal points and angles). Each parcel (property ID number) has its own legal description specific to that exact property with no two the same.

What is an index?
Documents are typically searched in an index directory where the search can by done using certain criteria.

What is a deed?
A deed is an official transfer document showing the change in property ownership.

What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a legal contract between lender and borrower that would allow the lender certain rights to the property in the case of mortgage default.

What is a mortgage release or satisfaction?
Upon paying off the mortgage with a given lender, the lender would issue a mortgage release against the property.

What is a lien?
A lien is a claim against the property or the owner that is recorded in public records.

What is a mortgage assignment?
An assignment is the action of transferring mortgage debt from one lender to another.

What is "Lis Pendens"?
Lis Pendens is a term used to indicate that a foreclosure action has been initiated against the owner (or property).

What is abstracting?
The process of arranging documents in the logical order for a given property is called abstracting.

Can I call the county office to abstract documents for my property?
County offices do not provide abstractor-related services and will not look for documents for you.

What service do I order if I buy the property from the bank (REO)?
You have to order a Full Title Search service. A bank is counted as the current owner, while the liens on the house are most likely carried over from the previous owner.

✷ Please contact our office with any additional questions, comments or concerns.

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