When individuals or business owners look to buy properties, their mortgage lender typically contacts a title company that searches legal documents to ensure the title to the property is free of liens or judgments that would impede the transaction. A title officer works for a title company and oversees this search process. He then reports the results to the lender or its law firm. A paralegal certification and key qualifications help someone get into this career.
Education and Training
The only legal requirement to become a title officer is that you pass your state's licensing exam for title officers. While paralegal training and more formal education increase your employment potential, a high school diploma is often the minimum educational requirement. You do generally need some experience with abstracts and title work prior to getting hired as a title officer. You can also receive ongoing education on title laws and search processes through your company or a titling association.
A title officer typically receives assignments on proposed property transactions and sets about researching legal records and documents related to the home or building. This process requires strong critical thinking and analytical skills. A keen eye also helps when digging through legal databases for details. You also need to closely look at documents and records to recognize any unusual items that could impede a sale, such as an old lien or restrictive covenant.
Excellent Communication Skills
A title officer must have great active listening skills as well as strong verbal and written communication abilities. He must listen to directions, deadlines and other details in the lender's or lawyer's request for a search. The primary purpose of a title search is to determine whether the title company should ensure the title. If a lien or challenge comes after the transaction, the insurer assumes the financial risk. Thus, the title officer must clearly communicate his findings and confidence in the fact that the title is clear of any potential liens or stumbling blocks.
Much of the title search process is performed online using basic Internet searches as well as computer software programs. While this technological evolution has made title searching more efficient, it means officers need computer skills. Basic word processing and spreadsheet abilities are needed to prepare memos and reports. Additionally, employers prefer that you come into the job experienced in using title search or abstracting software for research.