In our previous discussion, we delved into the five common types of title searches. Now, let’s explore the intricacies of title searches further by examining the five levels involved. Dave from provides valuable insights into each level, shedding light on their characteristics and when they might be most applicable.

1. Online or Electronic Title Search: The Basics

At the most basic level, an online or electronic title search relies on the accessibility of electronic records. However, as Dave emphasizes, not all title records are electronic. This limitation makes online searches somewhat constrained, offering around 50% accuracy. Details such as specific lien balances, interest, penalties, and even the validity of a lien may be missing from online searches.

2. In-Person Search: A Civilian Endeavor

Moving a step further, an in-person search involves an individual physically going to the courthouse records to conduct a search themselves. This civilian search may have an accuracy rate of approximately 50-60%. While cost-effective, it carries the risk of missing important details that a professional might catch.

3. Professional In-Person Search: Enhancing Accuracy

Level three introduces the professional in-person search. Here, a seasoned title searcher, well-versed in navigating land records, meticulously examines deeds, mortgages, and liens. The accuracy of this search significantly improves, ranging from 95 to 99%. The cost for a professional in-person search typically falls between $100 and $150.

4. Certified In-Person Search: Official Title Abstracts

Taking the accuracy and thoroughness a step further, level four involves a certified title examiner creating an official title abstract. This certified search, while similar to the professional search, undergoes additional steps to ensure certification. The cost for a certified in-person search is generally around $150.

5. Legal Opinion: Attorney Expertise

At the pinnacle of title searches is the legal opinion provided by an attorney, marking level five. An attorney may either perform the title search themselves or review a certified search, offering a legal opinion tailored to specific needs. This level of expertise comes at a higher cost, typically ranging from a few hundred to a thousand dollars.

Choosing the Right Level for Your Needs

Determining the appropriate level of a title search depends on your specific requirements. While a professional or certified title search is often sufficient for standard transactions, complex situations, such as property transfers with legal implications, might warrant the expertise of an attorney and a legal opinion.

In summary, the cost of a title search can vary significantly, from a modest $25 to $50 for an online search to potentially thousands for a comprehensive legal opinion. Consulting with title search professionals at can help you identify the most suitable level for your needs, striking a balance between cost and the depth of information required.

For further guidance or inquiries about title searches, visit our website at Our team is ready to assist you in navigating the complexities of title searches and ensuring a smooth real estate transaction.