MORTGAGE & CONVEYANCING SEARCHES

The word ‘conveyance’ covers the entire legal process involved in buying and selling a property whether that property is a long-term lease or registered as a ‘fee simple’. Most people retain lawyers when dealing in the purchase or sale of Bermuda property and Richmond is affiliated with the law firm of Lynda Milligan-Whyte & Associates which has a Real Estate department that can deal with all aspects of conveyancing in Bermuda.Whether a buyer or seller, you will need an attorney to liaise with your banker, arrange the searches, read title documents (whether in the form of a fee simple or lease agreement) deduce good marketable title and organise for the transfer of title to the new owner of the property. For further information on legal services, please contact LYNDA MILLIGAN-WHYTE & ASSOCIATES.

Among the most important elements of the conveyance process are searches. Richmond has a team of experienced paralegal staff that are trained in doing the necessary searches in order to close real estate transactions or provide details on mortgages or liens that are registered against Bermuda Property.

Mortgage Searches:

Typically, the purchaser’s attorney or paralegal will attend the Registry General’s Office in Bermuda and conduct a search of the Mortgage Register with respect to the Bermuda Property being acquired so as to ensure that there are no outstanding encumbrances related to the property or the seller.

This process will include a review of any registered mortgages associated with the property. If the search reveals that a registered mortgage does exist and is secured by the property which is being sold or purchased, not being marked “Satisfied” in the Registry’s records, then in order to proceed to closing the outstanding registered mortgage will have to be “Satisfied” and the Registry’s records changed accordingly.

Although investigation of the title is of primary concern to the purchaser, it is important to note that there may be other parties involved in the transaction who may be interested in it. The obvious example is the purchaser’s mortgagee in the case where the purchaser is borrowing a substantial portion of the purchase price from a lending institution. Since the property to be conveyed to the purchaser is also to be security for the mortgagee’s loan, it is crucial for the mortgagee to be certain that title is good so that, in the event of the security having to be realised, there will be no difficulties.

Historically, lending institutions would conduct their own independent searches. This practice resulted in increased costs to the purchaser and thus the more common practice today is for the lending institution to appoint the purchaser’s attorney as its agent and reliance is placed on that attorney’s search results.

Investigation of Title:

This investigation is conducted by the attorney acting on behalf of the purchaser. Such investigation should reveal details of the ownership history of the property that the purchaser intends to buy. This search should take between one and two weeks. The cost will vary depending upon the complexity of the search and whether there are problems with respect to good title.

Liens and Judgment Searches

Similarly to the commentary stated above regarding Mortgage Searches, liens and outstanding judgments must also be thoroughly searched as they comprise a form of encumbrance. Typically the Purchaser’s attorney or paralegal staff will attend the Supreme Court of Bermuda Registry and search under the names of all the relevant parties so as to ensure that there are no recorded judgments or liens listed against such parties. To the extent that a lien or judgment is discovered and not marked “Satisfied”, then this lien or judgment must be satisfied in order to successfully close the transaction.

It is of paramount importance that the purchaser’s attorney completes thorough searches so as to ensure good marketable title. Failure to do so can result in disastrous consequences for both purchaser and attorney.

For Legal Services, please contact LYNDA MILLIGAN-WHYTE & ASSOCIATES

Richmond has a paralegal team available to assist attorneys with all of the above searches.

To Order a Search: please contact lmw@richmond.bm