You’re a real estate agent, so you know that buying a home can be overwhelming for many of your clients. Homebuyers can easily feel confused and frustrated by the mounds of paperwork they have to sign. Plus, all the fees associated with closing can sometimes be a surprise even to an experienced buyer.
Owner’s title insurance is one of those items often misunderstood by homebuyers at closing, yet its value is tremendous. As an important advisor to your clients, you are in the position to help them understand the value of owner’s title insurance and the dangers that can be incurred without it.
What is title insurance?
Owner’s title insurance is a policy that protects homebuyers’ property rights. For the same reasons that the bank requires a lender’s insurance policy, a homebuyer obtains owner’s title insurance to protect their legal claims to the property.
How it protects your clients
Say, for example, your client recently purchased a new home from a builder, but the builder failed to pay the roofer. Wanting to be paid, the roofer filed a lien against the property. Without owner’s title insurance, your client would be responsible for paying this existing debt—meaning they’d be paying the roofer out of pocket instead of purchasing something nice for their new home, like new living room furniture. This is just one example of how owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers’ from various significant risks. With owner’s title insurance, your client would be protected from certain legal or financial responsibilities.
The good news is that owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers, as long as they or their heirs* own the home. For a low, one-time fee, homebuyers can know they are protected from inheriting existing debts or claims to their property.
State regulations and CFPB
In Texas, title insurance is regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates closing and settlement practices which can impact title insurance. Keep in mind that title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs.
Free resources for Realtors®
Together, real estate agents, land title insurance professionals and other stakeholders involved in real estate transactions can provide homebuyers with the protection they deserve during the home closing process. For more resources relating to title insurance and the homebuying process, visit: www.republictitle.com/residential-resources
*This advertising offers a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a title insurance company authorized to do business in your location.
The September 2020 DFW area real estate statistics are in and we’ve got the numbers! Take a look at our stats infographics, separated by county, with MLS area stats on each county report as well! These infographics and video are perfect for social sharing so feel free to post them!
To see past month’s reports, please visit our resources section here.
For the full report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, click here. For NTREIS County reports click here.
Broadly speaking, eClosings fall along a continuum that include three basic types – hybrid, in-person, and remote online. These methods incorporate varying amounts of the eClosing elements. In today’s blog, Dennis Pospisil, Senior Vice President/Digital Settlement and Signing Services, breaks down the different types of eClosings.
Hybrid eClosing “Hybrid” (“procedural” documents only closing) – At the low-end of the spectrum is the Hybrid or procedural documents only eClosing. This “entry-level” eClosing only involves electronic documents that do not need to be notarized or recorded, such as loan disclosures and settlement statements. The remainder of the closing takes place in a traditional manner.
All parties appear in person at the closing table, but some documents are signed electronically and some, typically collateral, notarized, and witnessed loan documents are wet signed. For documents that are electronically signed, generally one electronic signature is applied across all documents. Hybrid eClosings are the most popular and most widely used type of eClosing.
In-Person eClosing In-person – The middle-tier approach to eClosing involves electronically recording electronic documents with electronic signatures and electronic notarizations. The closing takes place in-person utilizing a shared computer or tablet.
All parties appear in person either at the settlement agent’s office or in the presence of a mobile notary, and all documents are both signed and notarized electronically. Very few closings are full eClosings because a large percentage of lenders are not ready to have the note electronically signed.
Remote Online eClosing Remote Online eClosing (“RON”) is a new, technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents.
Click here if you would like more information on our digital settlement services.
For most of us, a home is the largest investment we’ll make in our lives. To buy with confidence, get owner’s title insurance. It’s the smart way to protect your property from legal claims. To help you understand how owner’s title insurance works, here are answers to common questions.
What is title?
Title is your right to own or use your property. Title also establishes any limitations on those rights.
What is a title search?
A title search is an early step in the homebuying process to uncover issues that could limit your rights to the property. After the title search is complete, the title company can provide a title insurance commitment and then, after any requirements are met and closing occurs, a title policy.
What is title insurance?
If you’re buying a home, title insurance is a policy that protects your investment and property rights.
There are two different types of title insurance: an owner’s policy and a lender’s policy.
An owner’s policy is the best way to protect your property rights. Either the buyer or seller may pay for this policy. Ask your title professional how it’s handled in your area.
A lender’s policy is usually required by the lender and only protects the lender’s financial interests. The buyer typically pays for this policy, but that varies depending on geography. Ask your title professional how it’s handled in your area.
Why should I purchase owner’s title insurance?
Owner’s title insurance protects your investment in your property from certain future legal claims regarding ownership of, or liens on, your property. For a one-time fee, you and your heirs* receive coverage for as long as you own your home. The owner’s policy also covers potential legal fees and court costs for settling claims covered by your policy.
What does owner’s title insurance cover?
Sometimes undiscoverable defects can come up after the title search. Under an owner’s title insurance policy, you are protected against certain undiscovered errors in the title.
Title issues include unknown:
Outstanding mortgages and judgments, or a lien against the property because the seller has not paid his taxes
Pending legal action against the property that could affect you
Unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership of the property
Unforeseeable title claims include:
Forgery: making a false document
For example, the seller misrepresents the identity of the person who sold the property.
Fraud: deception to achieve unfair gain
For example, someone steals your identity and either sells your house without your knowledge or consent, or takes out a second mortgage on the property and walks away with the money.
Clerical error: inconsistent paperwork and historical records
For example, an unforeseeable discrepancy in the property or fence line can cause confusion in ownership rights.
What does owner’s title insurance cost?
The one-time payment for owner’s title insurance is low relative to the value of your home. In Texas, rates are based on the sales price of the property and are set by the Texas Department of Insurance. You can calculate title insurance premium rates using the insurance calculator found on our website.
How long am I covered?
Your owner’s insurance policy lasts for as long as you or your heirs* own your property. Your life will change over time, but your protection never will.
What happens at closing?
Closing is the final step in executing the homebuying transaction and involves signing the documents that allows the creation of your new loan (if applicable), and transfer of ownership to occur. Upon completion of the closing and funding process, you get the keys to your home!
*This offers a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a title insurance company authorized to do business in your location.