What Is a Home Abstract?

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A home abstract is a document that traces the ownership of a real estate, as far back as necessary, to clearly establish title of the property. Abstract, also called an ‘Abstract of Title’, summarizes information gathered from various sources about the current and past titleholders of a property, as well as liens or judgments against the estate. Whenever you invest in real estate, a house, a lot or a commercial building, you must make sure that no one else has a claim to the real estate you are planning to purchase. Abstractors gather data from many sources about all the events ever recorded, with special focus on the ones which can affect the property.


A home abstract lists all the transactions or other dealings that involved the home since its construction. When you purchase a home, you need assurance that no one else has a claim to your new property, or that no former owner will show up and claim the estate. A certified Abstractor or an attorney will verify the compilations of all records related to your prospective home; such as names of all previous owners as well as encumbrances, easements, transfer of deeds, survey results, wills etc.

Validation time

Depending upon the jurisdiction in your province/ territory, the home abstract will cover the minimum amount of time that has been allowed by law to endorse the title of the property clear. In some territories, Abstract of Title extends all the way back to the original deed holders of a property, while in others it may cover only the most recent 30 years to validate a clear title.


A home abstract is a large, detailed document whose size primarily depends upon the number of transactions the property has undergone since its construction. Whenever the property is sold, all the information between the last sale and current sale is documented in its abstract. The seller provides the copy of abstract he/she has with him to the abstractor, who then updates the information and adds the additional pages to the document. Usually abstracts consist of a dozen or more pages, but some home abstracts also have more than hundred pages of documentation.

Chances of mistake

A detailed home abstract offers the buyer the historical accounting of the real estate he or she is interested in purchasing. It also reduces the risk of dual ownership by listing all the known transactions that have taken place since the construction of the home. However, at times, the person compiling the data unintentionally overlooks an important detail, which may lead to legal complications in future. While you cannot avoid such an inadvertent mistake, you can secure your investment by choosing an additional title insurance policy.

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