- Rights and interests that are disclosed in the public records or by physical inspection of the property, i.e., deeds, mortgages, leases, etc., parties in possession, utility easements, etc.
- Rights and interests that are not recorded but exist, i.e., limitations imposed by laws and statutes, etc.
- Rights and interests that are hidden, i.e., forgeries, secret marriages and unknown heirs.
Every title is made up of many different "rights" and "interests" that
may be owned by different people. The "owners" of the property own the
most valuable of the property's rights and interests, but other people
may also have rights to the property, such as easements for utilities or
Each title can be compared to sticks in a bundle. The rights and interests are represented by the sticks. The "owners" own what we call a "fee simple" title, that is, they have purchased the most vital and valuable sticks including rights of possession, use, occupancy, enjoyment, inheritance, etc. Also, within the bundle are sticks that may be owned by other parties. These are called encumbrances and may consist of easements, mortgages, liens, etc.
When a person purchases a parcel of real estate, it is not only the physical property itself that he or she acquires, but the sellers rights and interests, "the seller's title," in the property. It is essential for the prospective purchaser to know before the transaction takes place, precisely what rights or interests the seller can convey. The purchaser also needs to know who else may have rights or interest in the property, and about any encumbrances against the property that may affect the use or enjoyment of the land. The title search must cover all these rights and interests.