Perform a background search before you sign a real estate contract. The search is intended to spot any obvious problems before you spend money and time on the matter.
- Check the Oklahoma Secretary of State records. If the Seller is a business entity, then it should be in “good standing.”
- If the Seller is a foreign entity (for example, a Texas limited partnership), then also check that state’s secretary of state records.
- Check the Oklahoma and federal court records to identify past or present lawsuits. Again, if the Seller is a foreign entity, check that state’s court records.
- Check the county assessor’s records to confirm ownership, address, tax and sales information on the property in question.
- Check the county clerk’s records for tax liens, mechanic’s liens, lis pendens, and mortgages.
- Check the county clerk’s records for the deed that conveyed title to the seller.
- Walk the property (do you see any obvious environmental hazards like an oil spill?).
Chances are, the title commitment will identify any concerns. But, wouldn’t you want to know about any “gotchas” before you tendered a deposit and waited ten days for a title commitment?