Approximately two out of every three Floridians own property in the state. Those who are considering joining this group likely have a number of questions about home-ownership.

The first hurdle is generally financing. There are a number of programs that can help potential buyers afford their dream property. First-time home buyer programs are available through national programs with the Federal Housing Administration and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as more local programs through Florida’s Military Heroes Program, the Florida Assist Program, mortgages with local banks and credit unions.

Once you determine the best financing option for your home purchase, you will likely begin touring available properties. When you find one that meets your needs you may begin discussing the legalities of the purchase. One specific legality involves the title of the property.

What is a title? The title is the legal term that refers to the legal ownership of the property. A potential buyer wants to ensure the property has a clean title before moving forward.

What is a clean title? A clean title means there are no questionable claims to ownership of the property. Let us take a remodeled home as an example. A contractor may put a lien out on the property if they believe they were not adequately compensated for their work.

How do I know if the property has a clean title? It is wise to hire legal counsel to complete a thorough title search. This process will help uncover any unresolved legal issues that could cause ownership questions in the future.