Title companies play an important role during any property purchase. Whether you're looking for your first home or you're a seasoned real estate investor, the services offered by title companies can help streamline the property transaction.

Title companies do more than just ensure that your title is legitimate. They also offer critical services to help transfer ownership from the seller to the buyer.

When looking for a title company to use, there are important factors you should consider. Here are critical services that your title company should provide even before you consider hiring them.

1. Inquire about their research process

During a real estate transaction, the title of a property is transferred from the owner to the seller. The title document is what ascertains the true owner of a property at any given time. Therefore, it's important for you to ensure that the title is legitimate before purchasing a home.

Title companies can do the necessary research into public records, databases, and other relevant official sources to prove the legitimacy of a title. They can also ensure that the seller has a legal right to make this transaction and that there are no accrued fees on the title of the property. Simply put, title companies do the digging and the background research necessary to ensure a smooth transaction.

Before you hire a title company, ensure that they carry out a thorough research process into every title that is being transferred.

2. What fees do they charge?

Cost is also another important factor to consider when hiring a title company. In most cases, the fees you will pay will vary depending on the services you're looking for.

There are separate charges for a title inquiry, title insurance, assistance with the closing process, and any paperwork required during the transaction. Because the process can be complicated, make sure that all fees being charged are explicitly listed and explained in your invoice.

3. Check if they offer title insurance

Even if a title appears clean after background research, it's still a good idea to insure the title against anything else that may come up at a later date. Title insurance not only protects you as the buyer, but it also protects the mortgage lender (or whoever is financing the property purchase) as well as the seller.

Any reputable title company should offer customised title insurance plans to help protect you against any financial risk when purchasing a home.

4. They should preferably help with the closing process

Closing on a real estate transaction can be a real headache. There are many procedures and documents involved and it can easily feel overwhelming. However, if your title company also offers closing services, you can save yourself a lot of stress. Look for title companies that essentially double up as a closing agent and offer conveyancing services.