Title companies do saerches as part of the insurance they sell you and the search is free up front. some states do not have title companies and lawyers perform the service. I want to get more answers onthis system myself. You can hire the search done for $100 to $150 from a title company. Some counties have their resources online and you can search their data but I would not rely on this when buying a property. You should buy title insurance if available. If you are buying to flip you may be able to buy the policy for your end buyer and not be charged twice except lenders want the coverage if you are getting new loans to do deals.