The title to real estate refers to the legal ownership or claims on the property. Before someone in Texas purchases real estate, it is important to do a title search.

Title searches should reveal whether there are any defects, or clouds, that would prevent the owner from selling full rights to the property, as well as other facts that the buyer needs to know before making the purchase.

Title clouds

According to, title searches reveal a problem more than a third of the time. Common issues include mistakes on deeds, mechanic’s liens and tax liens. The owners must also take care of any delinquent taxes or outstanding judgments.

Sometimes, real estate titles become clouded by inheritance issues, such as conflicting wills, multiple heirs and undisclosed owners. In order to sell the property, all owners must sign closing documents.

Clearing the title may take time and delay closing, but title clouds are typically resolved without any lasting issues.

Limits to property use

A review of the title may reveal that there is an easement on the property. Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains that easement gives a nonproperty owner permission to use another person’s land in some way, or prevents the property owner from some action that is legal.

For example, there may be an easement that allows a neighbor to place a driveway across the property if there is no other way to access his or her property from a public road. Or, there may be an easement that prevents the property owner from building a structure that blocks a neighbor’s scenic view.