What is a Title Defect?

Man with pen looking over paper contract

The homebuying process evokes a lot of emotions. Excitement, nervousness, stress — it can be an emotional and complicated rollercoaster, and while after getting the keys to your new home will make all of these emotions worth it, it’s important to understand what to look out for in the closing process.

Before you close on your new home, a title search will take place to find any defects in the title. A title defect is any kind of potential threat to the owner’s right to sell the property. While title searches are an integral part to closing, it can be tricky to detect unrecorded histories of your property. And that’s where title insurance comes in handy to keep you protected as you continue on your home buying journey.

Here are a few ways your title search can return as a defect.

Unknown Liens

To put it simply, if the previous owner of the home has had a lien placed on the property and the debt continues to go unpaid, you will be responsible for paying off the debt.

Illegal Deeds

Occasionally, deeds are signed by different parties that can make it invalid. These parties can be minors, someone of an unsound mind, or even someone that says they are single but are actually married. Illegal deeds can affect the chain of title and the owner’s rights.

Unknown Heirs

If you are purchasing a property of someone who has passed away, an unknown family member could come forward with a will that will pass the property onto them.

Errors in Public Records

Clerical or filing errors happen, and in the event this happens to you, it can impact the validity of your home’s deed.


Forgeries and fabricated documents can happen that can give rights to the dishonest party. Forgery can impact your rights as the new homeowner.

While there are several things that can be considered defective to your title, having a good title company by your side can protect you and your rights as a new homeowner. At Continental Title Company, we’re on your side, and we can help defend against these defects, together.