If you’re thinking about selling your home sometime in the near future, you’ll need to update your abstract. Here is what that means.

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One thing that makes Iowa really unique when selling real estate is the fact that we are one of the few states in the country that utilizes abstracting.

What is an abstract? If you closed on a home in the past, you may recall that someone handed you a thick, legal-sized binder filled with all sorts of old papers and information, labeled “abstract.” Attorneys will tell you to guard these documents with your life because they’re so expensive to replace.


When you go to sell your home, you’ll need to update that abstract. We’ll send that abstract to a local abstractor in the county in which your property is held, they will update it, then ship it to whoever the buyer is using as a title opinion attorney. That attorney will then look over the abstract and all of the information that’s contained in it, including the history of the property, which will go back all the way to when the land was deeded over from the U.S. government. They will look for any clouds on the title that need to be cleared.

The cost of updating your abstract will be somewhere around $300 to $600, depending on the county that you live in, how long it’s been since you last had the abstract updated, as well as other variables depending on your specific real estate situation.

In other states, title insurance will usually take the place of an abstract. This is a very different process, but it works for us here in Iowa!

If you have any other questions about abstracting or anything else related to real estate, feel free to reach out and give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you!