FAQ - Questions and Answers


Here are some frequently asked questions about real estate transactions.

What is a title search?

A title search is an examination of all public records that involve title to a specific property. The search is conducted to verify that there are no liens or other claims against the property other than those scheduled to be paid off by a new loan or a purchase money mortgage and/or subordinated by a new loan. A title search also confirms that all former owners have formally given up their ownership rights to the property.

What are recording fees?

Recording fees are "fees" that are paid to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the "privilege" of recording documents that relate to real estate transactions. Some of the recording fees are as follows:
Deed $125.00
Mortgage $175.00
Discharge of a Mortgage $75.00
Declaration of Homestead $35.00
What does Title Insurance do?

To protect possibly the most important investment you'll ever make- the investment in real estate.

A lender goes to great lengths to minimize the risk of lending money for the loan it makes on real estate. It checks on the borrower's credit to determine their ability to repay the loan; and the lender seeks assurance that the quality of the title to the property it is loaning money on meets with the lender's satisfaction; and that a title insurance policy protecting the lender's loan will be issued to it by a title insurance company.

Does the loan policy protect the borrower?

The loan policy does not protect the borrower.

The loan policy protects only the lender against loss, not the borrower. The borrower for a purchase loan can obtain title insurance to protect their own interests, and it protects the borrower for as long as they own the property. The borrower can obtain from the closing attorney a list of the matters that an owner's title insurance policy covers.

Why is title insurance necessary if there has been a title search?

Title insurance is issued after an examination of the public records. But even the most thorough search cannot absolutely assure that no title defects are present, despite the knowledge and experience of professional title examiners. In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be found in a search.

A few of such title problems that can cause loss of title or create an encumbrance on title are:

     False impersonation of the true owner of the property
     Forged deeds, releases of wills
     Undisclosed or missing heirs
     Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney
     Mistakes in recording legal documents
     Misinterpretations of wills
     Deeds by persons of unsound mind
     Deeds by minors
     Fraud

Where are title searches conducted?

In Massachusetts, documents related to real estate transactions are recorded in the Registry of Deeds for the county in which the real estate is located.

Here is a list of the cities and the towns and their counties wherein they are located:



City/Town County
 
Abington Plymouth
Acton Middlesex
Acushnet Bristol
Adams Berkshire
Agawam Hampden
Alford Berkshire
Allston (see Boston) Suffolk
Amesbury Essex
Amherst Hampshire
Andover Essex
Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head) Dukes
Arlington Middlesex
Ashburnham Worcester
Ashby Middlesex
Ashfield Franklin
Ashland Middlesex
Athol Worcester
Attleboro Bristol
Auburn Worcester
Avon Norfolk
Ayer Middlesex
Back Bay (see Boston) Suffolk
Barnstable Barnstable
Barre Worcester
Beacon Hill (see Boston) Suffolk
Becket Berkshire
Bedford Middlesex
Belchertown Hampshire
Bellingham Norfolk
Belmont Middlesex
Berkley Bristol
Berlin Worcester
Bernardston Franklin
Beverly Essex
Billerica Middlesex
Billerica Center Middlesex
Blackstone Worcester
Blanford Hampden
Bolton Worcester
Boston Suffolk
Bourne Barnstable
Boxborough Middlesex
Boxford Essex
Boylston Worcester
Braintree Norfolk
Brewster Barnstable
Bridgewater Plymouth
Brimfield Hampden
Brockton Plymouth
Brookfield Worcester
Brookline Norfolk
Buckland Franklin
Burlington Middlesex
Buzzards Bay (see Bourne) Barnstable
Byfield (see Newbury) Essex
Cambridge Middlesex
Canton Norfolk
Carlisle Middlesex
Carver Plymouth
Cataumet (see Bourne) Barnstable
Charlemont Franklin
Charlton Worcester
Chatham Barnstable
Chelmsford Middlesex
Chelsea Suffolk
Chesire Berkshire
Chester Hampden
Chesterfield Hampshire
Chicopee Hampden
Chilmark Dukes
Clarksburg Berkshire
Clinton Worcester
Cohasset Norfolk
Colrain Franklin
Concord Middlesex
Conway Franklin
Cummington Hampshire
Dalton Berkshire
Danvers Essex
Dartmouth Bristol
Dedham Norfolk
Deerfield Franklin
Dennis Barnstable
Dighton Bristol
Dorchester (see Boston) Suffolk
Dorothy Pond (see Millbury) Worcester
Douglas Worcester
Dover Norfolk
Dracut Middlesex
Dudley Worcester
Dunstable Middlesex
Duxbury Plymouth
East Bridgewater Plymouth
East Brookfield Worcester
East Dracut (see Dracut) Middlesex
East Freetown (see Freetown) Bristol
East Longmeadow Hampden
East Millbury (see Millbury) Worcester
Eastham Barnstable
Easthampton Hampshire
Easton Bristol
Edgartown Dukes
Egremont Berkshire
Erving Franklin
Essex Essex
Essex Falls (see Essex) Essex
Everett Middlesex
Fairhaven Bristol
Fall River Bristol
Falmouth Barnstable
Fitchburg Worcester
Florida Berkshire
Foxborough Norfolk
Framingham Middlesex
Franklin Norfolk
Freetown Bristol
Gardner Worcester
Gay Head (now known as Aquinnah) Dukes
Georgetown Essex
Gilbertville (see Hardwick) Worcester
Gill Franklin
Gloucester Essex
Goshen Hampshire
Gosnold Dukes
Grafton Worcester
Granby Hampshire
Granville Hampden
Great Barrington Berkshire
Greenfield Franklin
Greenlodge (see Dedham) Norfolk
Groton Middlesex
Groveland Essex
Hadley Hampshire
Halifax Plymouth
Hamilton Essex
Hampden Hampden
Hancock Berkshire
Hanover Plymouth
Hanson Plymouth
Hardwick Worcester
Harvard Worcester
Harwich Barnstable
Hatfield Hampshire
Haverhill Essex
Hawley Franklin
Heath Franklin
Hingham Plymouth
Hinsdale Berkshire
Holbrook Norfolk
Holden Worcester
Holland Hampden
Holliston Middlesex
Holyoke Hampden
Hopedale Worcester
Hopkington Middlesex
Hubbardston Worcester
Hudson Middlesex
Hull Plymouth
Huntington Hampshire
Ipswich Essex
Jamaica Plain (see Boston) Suffolk
Kenwood (see Dracut) Middlesex
Kingston Plymouth
Lake Pleasant (see Montague) Franklin
Lakeville Plymouth
Lancaster Worcester
Lanesborough Berkshire
Lawrence Essex
Lee Berkshire
Leicester Worcester
Lenox Berkshire
Leominster Worcester
Leverett Franklin
Lexington Middlesex
Leyden Franklin
Lincoln Middlesex
Littleton Middlesex
Longmeadow Hampden
Lowell Middlesex
Ludlow Hampden
Lunenburg Worcester
Lynn Essex
Lynnfield Essex
Malden Middlesex
Manchester Essex
Mansfield Bristol
Marblehead Essex
Marion Plymouth
Marlborough Middlesex
Marshfield Plymouth
Mashpee Barnstable
Mattapoiset Plymouth
Maynard Middlesex
Medfield Norfolk
Medford Middlesex
Medway Norfolk
Melrose Middlesex
Mendon Worcester
Merrimac Essex
Methuen Essex
Middleborough Plymouth
Middlefield Hampshire
Middleton Essex
Milford Worcester
Millbury Worcester
Millis Norfolk
Millville Worcester
Milton Norfolk
Monroe Franklin
Monson Hampden
Montague Franklin
Monterey Berkshire
Montgomery Hampden
Monument Beach (see Bourne) Barnstable
Mt. Washington Berkshire
Nahant Essex
Nantucket Nantucket
Natick Middlesex
Needham Norfolk
New Ashford Berkshire
New Bedford Bristol
New Braintree Worcester
New Marlborough Berkshire
New Salem Franklin
Newbury Essex
Newburyport Essex
Newton Middlesex
Norfolk Norfolk
North Adams Berkshire
North Andover Essex
North Attleborough Bristol
North Billerica (see Billerica) Middlesex
North Brookfield Worcester
North Cambridge (see Cambridge) Middlesex
North Carver (see Carver) Plymouth
North Easton (see Easton) Bristol
North End (see Essex) Essex
North Grafton (see Grafton) Worcester
North Hatfield (see Hatfield) Hampshire
North Reading Middlesex
North Hampton Hampshire
Northborough Worcester
Northbridge Worcester
Northfield Franklin
Norton Bristol
Norwell Plymouth
Norwood Norfolk
Nutting Lake (see Billerica) Middlesex
Oak Bluffs Dukes
Oakdale Manor (see Dedham) Norfolk
Oakham Worcester
Old Town (see Newbury) Essex
Orange Franklin
Orleans Barnstable
Otis Berkshire
Oxford Worcester
Palmer Hampden
Paxton Worcester
Peabody Essex
Pelham Hampshire
Pembroke Plymouth
Pepperell Middlesex
Peru Berkshire
Petersham Worcester
Phillipston Worcester
Pinehurst (see Billerica) Middlesex
Pittsfield Berkshire
Plainfield Hampshire
Plainville Norfolk
Plymouth Plymouth
Plympton Plymouth
Princeton Worcester
Provincetown Barnstable
Quincy Norfolk
Randolph Norfolk
Raynham Bristol
Reading Middlesex
Rehoboth Bristol
Revere Suffolk
Richmond Berkshire
Rochester Plymouth
Rockland Plymouth
Rockport Essex
Rowe Franklin
Rowley Essex
Royalston Worcester
Russell Hampden
Rutland Worcester
Salem Essex
Salisbury Essex
Sandisfield Berkshire
Sandwich Barnstable
Saugus Essex
Savoy Berkshire
Scituate Plymouth
Seekonk Bristol
Sharon Norfolk
Sheffield Berkshire
Shelburne Franklin
Sherborn Middlesex
Shirley Middlesex
Shrewsbury Worcester
Shutesbury Franklin
Somerset Bristol
Somerville Middlesex
South Hadley Hampshire
Southhampton Hampshire
Southborough Worcester
Southbridge Worcester
Southwick Hampden
Spencer Worcester
Springfield Hampden
Sterling Worcester
Stockbridge Berkshire
Stoneham Middlesex
Stoughton Norfolk
Stow Middlesex
Sturbridge Worcester
Sudbury Middlesex
Sunderland Franklin
Sutton Worcester
Swampscott Essex
Swansea Bristol
Taunton Bristol
Templeton Worcester
Tewksbury Middlesex
Tolland Hampden
Topsfield Essex
Townsend Middlesex
Truro Barnstable
Tyngsborough Middlesex
Tyringham Berkshire
Upton Worcester
Uxbridge Worcester
Wakefield Middlesex
Wales Hampden
Walpole Norfolk
Waltham Middlesex
Ware Hampshire
Wareham Plymouth
Warren Worcester
Warwick Franklin
Washington Berkshire
Watertown Middlesex
Wayland Middlesex
Webster Worcester
Wellesley Norfolk
Wellfleet Barnstable
Wendell Franklin
Wenham Essex
West Boylston Worcester
West Bridgewater Plymouth
West Brookfield Worcester
West Newbury Essex
West Springfield Hampden
West Stockbridge Berkshire
West Tisbury Dukes
Westborough Worcester
Westfield Hampden
Westford Middlesex
Westhampton Hampshire
Westminster Worcester
Weston Middlesex
Westport Bristol
Westwood Norfolk
Weymouth Norfolk
Whatley Franklin
Whitman Plymouth
Wilbraham Hampden
Williamsburg Hampshire
Williamstown Berkshire
Wilmington Middlesex
Winchendon Worcester
Winchester Middlesex
Windsor Berkshire
Winthrop Suffolk
Woburn Middlesex
Worcester Worcester
Worthington Hampshire
Wrentham Norfolk
Yarmouth Barnstable


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