I am looking into buying my first piece of real property.
Basically my question is "why do title search companies even exist?". Who uses them? And why?
Are they doing something special apart from going to the local authoritative body and performing a title search on a parcel id number?
A) Am I paying them just so they can do my due dilligence and then stamp some big ole company seal on the documents they provided me with? So I feel more confident in the documentation provided?
B) Do they exist solely to service large banks and corporations who control thousands of property deeds worldwide and cannot afford to pay a staffer in every single city on earth just to perform title searches?
C) Or might they exist for some other reason that I am entirely unaware of?
I am not trying to be facetious. I am genuinely curious. As somebody who has never looked into the process of acquiring land in the past, they seem to be redundant as a service. I can't imagine how so many of them are still in business.
Take Detroit, MI for example.
There is a website called https://www.waynecountylandrecords.com (which is run by the city of Detroit) where I can go and pay them $6 for 15 minutes of access to perform as many property title searches as I can manage in 15 minutes. It costs $2 per page to print (download) documents from that database, up to a maximum of $10 per document.
That, or I could physically visit the land records office listed on their website and do the same thing in person. Although it would cost me a bit more money I believe.
So again my question is why would I spend more money with a title search company as opposed to performing the title search myself?
Is it simply because "performing a title search" requires the ability to circumnavigate a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo or even know where to perform the title search in the first place? I am quite distraught over the (what seem to me to be) unnessary complications involved in purchasing a property.
I'll be frank. I create and maintain extremely large computer databases for a living. So the idea of paying somebody $25+ to basically extract data from a database and then pass it on to me seems asinine.
The sole fact that a city like Detroit Michigan is placing a pay wall of $6 to even perform an online title search seems ludicrous to me as well. Seeing as it's in their best interest to give potential investors full and complete knowledge of any liens on the literally thousands of properties they are in need of having purchased by tax-paying individuals. For what? A few $100k in annual revenue for the City? But, I digress.
I do understand that it's literally a thousand+ year old system, so I carry on in search of knowledge.
If I absolutely have to go through a title search company to receive the full benefits of a title search, please explain why below.
Thank you for reading.