What We Provide
The Title Process:
1. Title Search and Examination
When buying a home, prospective homebuyers or their real estate professionals consult a title company or agent. Highly trained title professionals conduct a search and examination of title-related records to find and isolate issues that present risks to the homebuyers. As these public records are generally classified by owner name and not by property, finding pertinent information can be very tedious. Title companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars to duplicate records and file them by property in huge title databases to make the process more efficient.
- Records searched: tax, court judgments, deed, encumbrance, mortgage, federal and state records.
- Real property characteristics evaluated: zoning, location, survey issues, construction type, etc.
- Potential risks identified: prior defective deeds, unpaid loans, mechanics' liens, tax judgments, outstanding child support liens, access rights, utility and right-of-way easements, water and sewer assessments, improperly indexed documents, pending bankruptcy or divorce proceedings, boundary disputes, probate issues, forgery, fraud, undisclosed or missing heirs, and more.
2. Curative Actions
During the title search and examination, title defects are found in more than one out of three residential real estate transactions. These defects are remedied by title professionals as a matter or course - a process that can be difficult, as well as costly. Homebuyers are often unaware that this important work is being done behind the scenes to protect their interests. The corrective work performed by title professionals also helps to uphold the integrity of the land records upon which our property registration system is built.
3. Settlement and/or Closing Services
The title professional also conducts the settlement and/or closing. For most transactions, the process requires more than 100 very time consuming steps, including the following:
- Review contract or escrow agreement, handle monies, pay off any existing or prior mortgages, prepare or review the Closing Disclosure, and dozens of additional tasks. Gather all parties to review and finalize the documents, close the sale. Our title professionals also work to ensure adherence to Federal and State laws pertaining to the settlement process.
The Title Insurance Policy
When a property's title is determined to be in satisfactory condition, the transaction can close and a policy of title insurance is issued. This policy insures the title professional's service, and is vital protection again certain title issues that are undiscoverable from public records, such as forgery, fraud, lack of capacity in prior transactions, and more.
Two kinds of residential title insurance are necessary:
- Owner's Policy: For a one time premium, an Owner's Policy protects the homeowner from title threats undiscovered at the time of closing for as long as the policyholder (or his/her heirs) owns the property. Many companies also offer various extended policies to cover title issues that may arise after the policy is issued, including false claims by identity thieves, neighbor's building encroachments, and more.
- Loan Policy: A Loan Policy is required by Lenders (and purchasers of loans in the secondary mortgage market) to provide insurance that their mortgage liens are valid and enforceable, and that they have priority over any other liens or claims. A one time premium covers the lender for the duration of the mortgage loan.