An abstract is a set of documents that details the ownership history of a particular property, as well as any court documents pertaining to the property or it's owners. Abstracts can be used to establish a "clear title" to a piece of property.
Click the link below to see the steps involved in updating an abstract (PDF - 62K).
A title report is a document used by lenders for various reasons, though the most common is for the purpose of determining the title's current status. Several issues must be satisfied before a lender will approve a loan. This results in the need of a title search: the gathering of pertinent information, such as the last deed of record stating the present owner's name, the property's legal description, any open liens (judgments, federal and/or state tax liens, mechanic liens), and open mortgages, as well as any other notations of title concern. The gathering of this information takes place in the county clerk's office.
Once completed, the title report falls under the scrutiny of the lender. Along with credit bureau checks and appraisals, the lender will use the report to determine the approval of home equity loans, refinance loans, or lines of credit.
Indian land titles are of particular significance in Oklahoma. Individual Indians of different tribes initially owned a substantial amount of the land here. Under various acts of Congress and certain treaties, allotments were made to Indians, subject to various restrictions. Indian land titles can present very complicated legal issues because of the over 4,000 pertinent statutes and the mass of treaties and their associated judicial and administrative rulings.
Great care must be exercised in transactions involving property in which title originated from a native american, or is still owned by a native american. Of particular importance are the restrictions on the alienability of Indian land. Specifically, a title examiner must determine that the restrictions applicable to Indian land have been removed by Congress or by the approval of the Secretary of Interior. Usually this can be done by reviewing the historical record of title in an abstract. Sometimes restrictions still affect property, and approval of the transaction must be obtained from the Department of Interior. If a property has been transferred without the restrictions first being removed, judicial action is usually necessary to cure the defect.
The State of Oklahoma grants the right of individuals to select certain parcel(s) of land as a "homestead." The special attributes of homestead property have a significant impact on the sale, encumbrance, execution by creditors, and taxation of property in Oklahoma. Homestead issues arise in virtually every Oklahoma real estate transaction due to the impossibility of ascertaining from the record whether a particular tract of land is or is not a homestead.
Except for size restrictions, the Oklahoma Constitution provides little direction as to what comprises a person's homestead. Courts consider factors such as length of residence, the property's tax roll designation, a person's intent to return or remain on the property, etc. Since not all factors can be determined from an abstract examination or search of the county records, it is usually prudent to assume that property is the homestead in order to avoid a problem that will require expensive court action to correct.