How to read my preliminary title report

What is a Preliminary Report?

This is a formal report that lays out the current status and recorded information relevant to the subject property. The preliminary title report (or “prelim”) informs all parties of any matters affecting the property and what actions will need to be performed to close the transaction and issue a title insurance policy. The buyer should review the prelim and confirm they are agreeable to any recorded matters such as easements or covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). The prelim also indicates the seller’s financial matters affecting the property, such as loans, liens, taxes owed, bankruptcy, etc. These financial matters must be resolved prior to transferring the property to the buyer. Ultimately, the prelim helps facilitate the issuance of the title insurance policy.

Shortly after opening a title order, skilled title examiners conduct a title search and examine matters related to the property. Next, we prepare and send the Preliminary Report over for review.

The report reflects the exceptions in a title insurance policy—so the parties involved in the transaction are aware of any matters that may need clearing up prior to the transaction closing. This report is issued before the title policy itself (hence calling it the Preliminary Title Report).

The matters shown in the report are as follows:

1. The estate or interest covered.
2. The record owner of the estate or interest.
3. A legal description of the parcel of land covered.
4. Requirements and notes.
5. The easements, liens, encumbrances and other matters which affect the title to the land at the date and time of the report.
6. Financial matters affecting the property.


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