The title chain is a clear and unbroken chronological record of the ownership of a specific property. Tracing the title chain simply means tracing successive title transfers, starting with the current deed and going back an appropriate number of years. Each owner is linked to the previous owner and the subsequent owner through deeds, forming a chain of title as disclosed in public records.
A space in the title string creates uncertainty, which is known as a title cloud, also called the title color. A cloud in the title could be something simple. For example, Sue Jones buys a house; She’s getting married and now she’s Sue Smith. When you sell the home, the grantor’s name on the deed is Sue Smith. This creates a break in the title chain.
A silent title game, also called a silent title action, may be required to close missing links and remove the cloud in the title. This is a lawsuit filed to determine and resolve instrument issues that transport a particular terrain. The purpose of this lawsuit is to clarify a particular known claim, title defect, or perceived defect. To bridge the gap and clear the cloud over the title, the court may issue a deed of resignation or a writ of deed.
A writing that falls outside the title chain is said to be wild writing. Buyers and lenders are not required to have a constructive notice of wild facts. For example, Ann buys a house and records her deed. He later sells the house to Bob, who does not record his deed. Bob sells the land to Curt, and Curt records his deed right away. Now there is a break in the chain of titles. The log shows only Ann’s and Curt’s action, but the link between them (Bob’s action) is missing, so Curt’s action is wild action.
Ann knows that Bob never registered his deed and decides to sell the same property a second time. This time he sells it to Dan. Dan doesn’t know anything about Bob or Curt, so he has no reason to look up those names in the grantee / grantor index. He looks up Ann’s name in the index, and from what he can deduce from the record, she still owns the property. So, Dan buys the house. Dan does not have constructive notice of Curt’s interest in the property, because Curt’s deed was outside the title chain. This is why it is very important to understand the title chain before buying a home and why lenders require clear title to be secured by a reputable title company.