What you need to know about preliminary reports
You’re probably wondering, “What’s the preliminary report”? In short, it is a document that officially establishes the property’s legal ownership. You might say it’s one of the essential pieces of documentation involved in selling a home.
The title company shall compile these reports in order to issue title insurance to the buyer. They can be acquired by contacting the county assessor or by ordering them from the title company for $75-$250.
What does a preliminary report show?
In a preliminary report, you can expect to find the following information:
- A detailed legal description of the property (including a detailed account of the boundaries of the property, lot size, and any easements or encroachments established)
- Any property liens or outstanding debts (including unpaid property taxes or even unpaid invoices to contractors who have finished the property work)
- Any limitations on the use of the property (which sometimes includes condo CC&Rs)
Why are preliminary reports important?
For a few reasons, these reports are essential. For beginners, some homeowner associations may have restrictions that regulate anything from additions to exterior paint colors to maximum heights of hedges (such as pools and accessory dwelling units). In the preliminary report, these restrictions are sometimes outlined. As such, before you commit to buying, it is important to review the report so that you are aware of any property limitations. In case you’re financing the sale, title insurance will most probably be required by your lender.
To validate that the title is clear (free from defects or judgments), they will investigate county records. Before the title company issues a policy, and the seller has the right to sell the property. If during the discovery period any problems are uncovered, your title company will help resolve those before you close.
For example, in the case of unpaid taxes, you can usually solve the seller’s issue by asking them to pay the judgment or have the amount deducted from the sales price and settle it yourself.
A good REALTOR® can aide you make the right offer for the property you’re interested in buying. For free valuation, contact us at 401-396-2888. We’re always glad to help!