For the last couple years Charleston has been bringing more businesses and employment opportunities to the region that resulted the house market to thrive. Buying a house is one of the exciting and in the same time stressful events. For most of people it is one of the largest and the most significant purchases in their lives.

There are many things that have to be accomplished in order to make this process smooth and easy on the Buyer. One of the crucial parts of purchasing a house and protecting the Buyer’s interest is Title Exam.
Title exam is a search of property’s records that is performed by Title Abstractors, or so called, Title Examiners. In South Carolina Title Abstractor searches public records and other sources establishing chain of ownership forty (40) years back.

For Charleston Home Buyers the importance of performing a Title Exam is even more critical since there are many old properties that may potentially have more title defects. Besides, in South Carolina there are a lot of Heirs’ properties that is any land passed down without a will. This creates many title issues since any heir can demand their share of the property leaving the Buyer with a loss.

Title defects may include: unsatisfied mortgages, liens, judgments, unpaid taxes, restrictions and easements limiting the use of the land, improperly executed deeds, improper notary acknowledgments, undisclosed errors with claims against the property, forged deed and more.

If there are encumbrances on the property, it becomes unmarketable with ‘defective title’. A defective and unmarketable title exists when there is a serious issue related to the ownership of the property (also known as a “cloud on title”). That means that third parties may claim an interest in the property. A title defect may prevent Buyer from purchasing the house and Lenders from issuing a loan to the Buyer.
Unsatisfied Judgments liens and Tax Liens are the most common encumbrances that create more problems for Buyers.

A Judgment Lien is a lien against real property of the debtor. When creditor wins the lawsuit against the debtor and debtor is not able to pay his judgment, the lien is automatically placed on debtor’s real property. Unlike in some states, in South Carolina, a civil judgment can only be attached to real property, not personal.
In South Carolina, a judgment lien remains attached to the debtor’s property for ten (10) years. If the debtor sells the property during that period, the judgment still remains on the property and a new Buyer risking to lose his real estate.

A Tax Lien is a lien placed upon a property to secure the payment of taxes. It can be imposed for delinquent taxes owed on real property or personal property, or as a result of failure to pay income or other taxes.

If Title Search has not been performed and title defects were found, the newly moved-in Buyers may not completely own their property. In cases of small claims against the property, the Buyer will be burdened with legal defense cost. In extreme cases, the Buyer may lose the house and still be liable to pay the balance of the mortgage.


For every real estate transaction it is vital for a Buyer to acquire a good title from the Seller. Your purchase of the real estate should always be contingent on the Seller providing a clear and marketable title. If the title search uncovers any problems, the Buyer should require the Seller to remedy those problems. A Buyer should always obtain a Title Search before purchasing a home to protect his interest in the property.

Whether you are purchasing a home for the first time, or buying an investment property, IKON LAW, LLC can help.  We know this can be a confusing area of the law, which is why the attorneys at IKON LAW, LLC take an unintimidating personal approach to our client representation.  We dedicate ourselves to providing superior legal services, keeping the best interest of our clients as our top priority.  We have a caring staff dedicated to taking care of you and your family’s needs.

Please contact IKON LAW, LLC at 843-416-8498 or click here  to schedule a Free Consultation.  No matter what, the attorneys at our firm will put your needs first.  We are committed to providing our South Carolina clients with reliable services when dealing with difficult situations.