A title search is used as part of a real estate transaction and determines the actual ownership of a property as well as the existence of any encumbrances or liens. There are three major issues that a title search addresses. The first issue ensures that the seller actually owns the property. Using a title search is essential and offers valuable protection. The second issue has to do with restrictions and encumbrances that are associated with a property's title. For example, the home you want to buy may have encumbrances that give oil and gas exploration companies the right to drill on your property. The third issue has to do with any debts that must be paid when you close on your new home. You may buy a home that just received a new roof that was never paid for. The roofing contractor put a lien against the property that must be paid.