The purpose of this article is to provide an understanding of the basic procedures of title examination. The emphasis is on the mechanics and practical considerations involved in a search of title. Although the focus of any legal work is "the law," this article is not meant to be a legal treatise. It is rather a practical "how to" guide. The author hopes, however, that this writing will not only acquaint the reader with the basic techniques of title examination but will also assist the title examiner in solving the related problems which arise when some of the more common title objections are discovered. This article treats the basic situations which the title examiner is most likely to encounter. Particular attention will be given to the role of the closing attorney (and/or purchaser's attorney or lender's attorney) in ordering or preparing a title examination; in recognizing and resolving common title problems revealed by the examination; in preparing a title opinion and certificate based upon the examination; and in obtaining title insurance. Cosmetic or minor defects frequently pose a problem for the inexperienced or overzealous title examiner. From the discussion of the more routine title objections, the novice examiner should gain confidence and understanding. A thorough understanding of the basic procedures and more routine problems encountered in title examination should also enable the reader to recognize situations which warrant additional research and enhance the experienced reader's ability to deal with the more complex and esoteric situations.
W. Wade Berryhill, Title Examination in Virginia, 17 U. Rich. L. Rev. 229 (1983).