A chain of title is a document that shows the historical record of the
owners of a property from its present owner back to the first legally recognized owner. A
chain of title also shows how the ownership of land was passed down to its current
owner. The records shown in a chain of title must correspond with the public ownership
records of the property.
A chain of title typically contains notes on the deeds registered on the property, the
judgments (if any), foreclosures, joint legal interests, equitable interests, mortgages,
charges, and so on. These notations help the reader to easily trace what manner and
time of transfers occurred on the property.
A chain of the title helps a purchaser to ascertain if there are any legal or equitable
claims on a property before buying. It also helps the buyer to decide whether the seller
has a good root of title or otherwise. The purchaser may check the chain of title with
public records to confirm if there are any false claims.
A chain of title is different from an abstract of a title because it is more elaborate and
detailed. An abstract of title, on the other hand, is a compressed record of the passage
of title from the original owner to its current owner.
Title companies and abstractors can dig up records and provide a report in the form of a
chain of title for the purchaser.