The title is the legal term for ownership of property. Buyers want a “good and marketable” title for a property – a good title means a title appropriate for the buyer’s purposes; a marketable title means a title the buyer can convey to someone else. Prior to closing, public records are “searched” to determine the previous ownership of the property, as well as prior dealings related to it. The search might reveal, for example, existing mortgages, liens for outstanding taxes, utility charges, etc., registered against the property. In closing, the buyer expects property that is free of such claims. So, normally they must be cleared up before closing. For example, the seller’s mortgage will be discharged and outstanding monetary expenses (such as taxes and utility charges) will be paid for (or adjusted for) at closing.