While many title companies understand the process of release tracking well, the other side of the coin is not always clearly understood. Title curative services, the result of errors during release tracking, is when a title must be cleared of any defects or clouds, and the process can be lengthy.
While the timeline can be unclear, there are ways to avoid the situation altogether. We sat down with Ayla Pettyjohn, who helps oversee the Curative Title Services Department at PropLogix, and clarified why release tracking is so important and what curative services entail if the process wasn’t handled properly in a previous closing.
What Are Title Curative Services?
Title curative services are there to correct any defects or clouds on the title that prevent a closing from happening on time. These defects are typically the result of an error committed during a past closing on the same property. Someone at some point in the process of a previous closing may have made a mistake or forgotten to check the public record for the proper recording of an instrument, mortgage, etc.
How Do Curative Services Work?
Whether working with a third-party provider of title curative work or tackling it in-house, the first place to start is the title commitment. This will show where the outstanding mortgage or deed of trust (or any unreleased lien) appears. The investigation then begins to uncover the reason why the mortgage or other title defect is still present. The best way to clear the title defect is by providing proof of the mortgage being paid off, resolving a lien, etc.
Unfortunately, the documentation for these title defects is often not readily available, especially proof of payment. Some mortgages that appear on the title commitment date back several decades if the home hasn’t changed owners multiple times. Additionally, financial institutions are commonly absorbed by larger ones or go out of business entirely.