9 Benefits of using a REALTOR When Buying or Selling a Home

With all the recent buzz on Buyer’s Agent representation and compensation, now more than ever is it important for you as a REALTOR® to clearly and effectively express your value to your clients and potential clients. If our decades of industry experience here at Republic Title have taught us anything, it’s the critical role REALTORS® play in ensuring smooth and successful transactions. With our list of 9 Benefits of Using a REALTOR® When Buying or Selling a Home, you can help relay the essential role you play to your clients in helping them navigate the real estate market and their transaction.

 Click here for a downloadable printer-friendly version of our list of 9 Benefits of Using a REALTOR® When Buying or Selling a Home.

1. Real Estate is a Full-Time Job

Real estate transactions require a significant investment of time and effort, which can be challenging for individuals to manage independently. REALTORS® dedicate their full time to the real estate profession, handling various tasks that might overwhelm an average person. For sellers, this includes staging the home, taking professional photographs, creating listings, hosting open houses, and negotiating with buyers. For buyers, a REALTOR® spends time searching for properties that meet the client’s criteria, scheduling and attending viewings, providing detailed property analyses, and guiding them through the offer and closing process. By managing these tasks, REALTORS® ensure that no aspect of the transaction is overlooked, providing a seamless and efficient experience for their clients.

2. Expert Knowledge And Experience

REALTORS® possess extensive knowledge of the real estate market, including current trends, property values, and neighborhood statistics. Their expertise helps clients make informed decisions, whether setting the right price for a property or making a competitive offer. Additionally, once licensed, REALTORS® must complete 18 hours of continuing education courses every two years for license renewal. This ongoing education ensures REALTORS® stay updated on industry changes and maintain their expertise, allowing them to navigate the complexities of the market and guide clients effectively. 

3. Access to Comprehensive Market Data

One of the significant advantages of using a REALTOR® is access to comprehensive market data and listings. Realtors have access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS), a database of available properties that provides detailed information, including property history, price changes, and comparable sales. This data is crucial for buyers to find the right property and for sellers to price their home competitively. Additionally, REALTORS® can provide insights into market conditions that are not readily available to the public.

4. Professional Networking And Connections

REALTORS® have an extensive network of professionals in the real estate industry, including mortgage brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, and attorneys. These connections can be beneficial for clients throughout the buying or selling process. For example, a REALTOR® can recommend a reputable home inspector to ensure the property is in good condition or connect buyers with a mortgage broker who can offer competitive financing options. This network of professionals helps streamline the transaction process and provides clients with trusted resources. 

5. Negotiation Skills

Effective negotiation is a critical aspect of real estate transactions. REALTORS® are skilled negotiators who can advocate on behalf of their clients to achieve the best possible terms and conditions. Whether negotiating the purchase price, contingencies, or repairs, REALTORS® have the experience to handle negotiations professionally and effectively. Their goal is to protect their client’s interests and ensure a fair and favorable outcome.

6. Assistance With Paperwork And Legal Requirements

Real estate transactions involve a significant amount of paperwork and legal documentation. A REALTOR® can help clients navigate these documents, ensuring that all necessary forms are completed accurately and submitted on time. This includes purchase agreements, disclosures, inspection reports, and other legal documents. REALTORS® also stay updated on local, state, and federal regulations, ensuring compliance and minimizing the risk of legal issues.

7. Objective Guidance And Support

Emotional attachment and stress can cloud judgment during real estate transactions. REALTORS® provide objective guidance and support, helping clients make rational decisions. They offer a balanced perspective, weighing the pros and cons of each option, and providing honest feedback. This objectivity is particularly valuable in negotiations and when evaluating property conditions, ensuring clients make decisions that align with their goals and financial interests.

8. Local Market Insight

REALTORS® have in-depth knowledge of local markets, including neighborhood dynamics, school districts, amenities, and future development plans. This insight helps buyers choose the right location that meets their lifestyle and investment goals. For sellers, understanding the local market ensures accurate pricing and effective marketing strategies, attracting the right buyers and maximizing the property’s value.

9. Post-Sale Support

The relationship with a REALTOR® doesn’t end at closing. Many REALTORS® offer post-sale support, assisting with any issues that arise after the transaction is complete. This can include recommending contractors for home improvements, providing market updates, or helping with future real estate needs. This ongoing support ensures clients feel secure and supported long after the deal is closed.

Check out more REALTOR® resources like this one in the Resources section on our website here.


Texas Housing Insight March 2024 Summary

Seasonally adjusted housing sales fell in March following February’s growth. Despite the drop, three months into the year cumulative sales are at the same level as last year. Home prices on the other hand remained the same at $340,000 for the second month in a row.

Texas Housing Insight is a summary of important economic indicators that help discern trends in the Texas housing markets. All measurements are calculated using seasonally adjusted data, and percentage changes are calculated month-over-month, unless stated otherwise.Data current as of March 22, 2024.

Seasonally adjusted housing sales fell in March following February’s growth. Despite the drop, three months into the year cumulative sales are at the same level as last year. Home prices, on the other hand, remained the same at $340,000 for the second month in a row.

Home Sales Retreat from February’s Gains

Texas witnessed a 7.1 percent decrease in total seasonally adjusted home sales month over month (MOM), resulting in 27,595 homes sold (Table 1). Although most major cities experienced an upward trend in February, there was a slight downturn across the board in March. Notably, San Antonio saw the most significant decline at 9.2 percent, representing a decrease of over 296 sales compared to February. Conversely, Dallas-Fort Worth had the smallest decline, with only 259 fewer sales (a 3.2 percent decrease).

After a consistent increase in new listings from December to February, Texas experienced a slight dip, declining from 45,696 to 45,448 listings (0.5 percent). Among the major cities, only San Antonio defied the trend, maintaining stable new listings. However, both Dallas and Houston saw significant drops. Dallas witnessed a reduction of 2,399 listings (17.2 percent), while Houston experienced a decrease of 1,394 listings (9.8 percent).

The state’s average days on the market (DOM) decreased by one day from 57 to 56. Austin fell by almost ten days while Dallas fell by a mere two days. There weren’t any notable changes in Houston and San Antonio. Statewide inventory increased from 3.9 to 4.1 months.

The number of active listings went up from 101,933 to 106,269 (4.2 percent) despite the slight decline in new listings. One explanation for the increase could be the sudden decrease in pending listings, which fell 6.2 percent. The Big Four experienced an upward trend in active listings with an addition of 334 for Austin (3.6 percent). Both Dallas and Houston experienced a similar increased trend in active listings by 2.2 percent with an addition of 524 and 570, respectively. San Antonio experienced a modest increase of 226 (1.8 percent).

Interest Rates on the Rise

Treasury and mortgage rates remain below their peak 2023 levels but have been increasing since the start of the year. The average ten-year U.S. Treasury Bondyield stayed at 4.21 for the second consecutive month. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate rose by 4 basis points to 6.82 percent.

Single-Family Starts Stabilizing in March

Texas’ number of single-family construction permits increased by 2.6 percent MOM, reaching 14,013 issuances. In Houston, there was a significant decline of 24.1 percent compared to the previous month. In contrast, Austin and San Antonio saw more modest increases, with 2.1 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. Dallas permits decreased by 5.2 percent.

Construction starts rose alongside permits, according to data from Dodge Construction Network. Single-family starts rose by 2.6 percent MOM to 16,104 units. Houston had been experiencing an almost vertical increase from 56.8 in February, which is slowly reducing. It currently stands at 9.6 percent in March. San Antonio had a modest increase of 2.9 percent, and Austin rose by 15.8 percent. Dallas had surprisingly no change after the previous month’s 42 percent increase.

The state’s total value of single-family starts climbed from $6.55 billion in March 2023 to $9.51 billion in March 2024. Houston accounted for 36.6 percent of the state’s total starts value. Starts value activity is up from last year as Austin and San Antonio also posted moderate increases.

Home Prices Decline

Texas’ median home price remained stable at approximately $340,000 compared to the previous month (Table 2). However, across most major metropolitan areas, home prices saw a decline. Notably, San Antonio experienced an increase of 4.2 percent, while Austin had the highest decline among the four major cities at 5.2 percent. Dallas saw a minor decrease of 0.3 percent, while Houston declined by 1.7 percent.

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index (Jan 2005=100) grew 0.6 percent MOM and 2.8 percent year over year (YOY). Austin’s annual appreciation remains below the state’s average, falling by 0.7 percent YOY.

Source: Texas Housing Insight | Texas Real Estate Research Center (tamu.edu)

Sold house sign in Midwest suburban setting. Focus on sign.

Republic Title Explores The Top Reasons People Are Moving in 2024

Moving is a big deal, right? But in this age, it’s not just about throwing stuff in boxes and hitting the road. There are all sorts of reasons people are moving in 2024. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the net migration for the 13-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area from July 2022 to July 2023 (the latest data available at this time) was 101,419 people, which equates to 278 more people in D-FW per day via migration, and that doesn’t even include those people who already live in the area and are looking to relocate.

If you, or someone you know, is planning a move this year, ask your real estate agent about partnering with Republic Title, the North Texas title insurance market leader, and how we can help get your deal done smoothly so you can begin enjoying your new home!  

Alright, let’s dive into the reasons people are moving in 2024:

1. Family Ties

You can’t beat family, can you? Sometimes, being close to the people you love most means moving to be nearer to them. Whether it’s for Sunday dinners or helping out with the grandkids, family is a big reason why people pack up and head to new places.

According to the National Association of Realtors, which surveys homebuyers and sellers as part of their annual Generational Trends Report, the desire to be closer to family/friends/relatives was at the top of the list of primary reasons for purchasing a home, especially for those in the Baby Boomer generation and Silent Generation. 

2. Need For a Bigger Space

Ever feel like your walls are closing in? Growing families, work-from-home setups, or just wanting more elbow room can all make you crave a bigger space. Sometimes, you’ve just got to spread out a bit!

3. Desire For a Vacation Home

Picture this: your own little slice of paradise where you can kick back, relax, and soak up the sun whenever you please. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s why some folks are scooping up vacation homes – for getaways and maybe a little rental income on the side.

4. Lots of Equity; Lots of Choice

If your home’s value has shot up, you might find yourself sitting on a pile of equity. That means you’ve got options – whether it’s upgrading to your dream home or exploring new neighborhoods, the world (or at least the housing market) is your oyster!

5. Upgrade The Neighborhood

Sometimes, you just want a change of scenery. Maybe you’re eyeing a neighborhood with better schools, a better dining scene, or just a friendlier vibe. Whatever your reasons, upgrading your neighborhood can be a game-changer.

6. Time to Downsize

Who needs all that extra space, anyway? Downsizing can be liberating – less stuff to take care of, lower bills, and maybe even a little extra cash in your pocket. Sometimes, less really is more.

7. Out-of-Area Relocation

New job? New school? New adventure? Sometimes, life takes you places you never expected. According to U-Haul’s Top Growth States Report, Texas ranked the No. 1 state for newcomers in 2023.  Whether it’s across the country or just a few towns over, moving to a whole new area can open up a world of possibilities.

8. Change of Work/Change of Life

Thanks to remote work, you’re not tied down to one place anymore. According to a Pew Research Center survey, about a third (35 percent) of workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time, which opens up options and is a big one of the reasons people are moving in 2024. 

So there you have it – the top reasons people are making moves in 2024. Whether you’re relocating for family, space, or a fresh start, Republic Title is the smart choice to partner with in the closing of your home.

Make sure to check out Republic Title’s website where we have curated a list of over 40 local community Fast Facts to help familiarize you with all that North Texas has to offer!

Source: Republic Title Explores The Top Reasons People Are Moving in 2024 – CandysDirt.com


How to Protest Your Property Taxes (and Win)

The property tax protest deadlines are fast-approaching, so if you find yourself in need of help or don’t know where to start in protesting, look no further! Last week Republic Title sponsored a webinar with Candysdirt.com and PropertyTax.io on How to Protest Your Property Taxes (and Win) to help provide valuable information on protesting property tax appraisals. During this hourlong event, over 350 participants learned the basics of property tax appeals and had the opportunity to ask a property tax protest expert questions. If you missed the webinar, you can view the full recording below and read answers to the most-asked questions and biggest takeaways from the event.

Hosted by property tax expert Glenn Goodrich of PropertyTax.io and CandysDirt.com founder and publisher Candy Evans, the wide-ranging discussion focused mostly on how recent property tax reform will impact the property tax protest process.

Top Tips and Q&A from the Webinar:

Q: How do you request the 14-day evidence report?
A: You must provide the appraisal district written notice at least 14 days prior to your scheduled Appraisal Review Board hearing date. I recommend sending in a certified letter right after you file a protest. In the letter simply identify your property and state that you are requesting the evidence the appraisal district will use in the hearing.

Q: Does the circuit-breaker cap apply with investment properties?
A: Yes, the circuit-breaker applies to all non-homestead real estate valued at $5 million or less. This includes investment properties, second homes (i.e. lake houses), and all types of commercial properties such as retail strip centers, office buildings, and industrial facilities.  

Q: How does the appraisal district determine the value of recently purchased properties?
A: Texas is a non-disclosure state, which means an owner is not obligated to share their purchase price with the government. Many appraisals district do have access to sales information for internal purposes though through an arrangement with the MLS providers. Sometimes appraisal districts rely on their party data sources that provide them sales information. 

Q: What is the best way to get comps?
A: If you have not hired a property tax firm and want to handle the protest yourself, it’s probably best to contact a Realtor to provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA is just a starting place though, be sure and pick the properties you think are the most similar and account for differences such as pools, living size, interior finish out, lot (interior vs. creek or backing to traffic), garage spaces, etc.

Q: What evidence works best in a protest?
A: As an agent, most of my cases are won using the “Sales Comparison Approach” where we discuss the best recent sales and how they compare to my client’s property. There is more wiggle room in this argument than most people realize. Besides using sales, photos, and estimates of legitimate issues that have a serious impact on your value (over $10,000) works well. Avoid showing normal wear and tear issues … that backfires and hurts your case for a reduction. 

Q: Can land value be protested?
A: In a protest, you can only protest the “Total Market Value” which includes both the land value and improvement value. In a vast majority of cases, you cannot parse out land value. You must prove the total value is too high. It is possible to be high on the land, low on the improvement, but overall correct on the total value. Stick to recent sales, photos, and estimates (see my answer above).  

Q: How do you confirm that your homestead exemption is valid?
A: You can verify your homestead is still on record by checking the appraisal district’s website. There is a section that discusses exemptions, and your homestead exemption should be displayed there. Your homestead exemption should be valid as long as your current driver’s license address still matches your site’s address and you are not claiming a homestead exemption on another property. 

Source: Top Tips From Our Property Tax Protest Webinar Featuring Glenn Goodrich of PropertyTax.io – CandysDirt.com

Couple standing in front of their new home. They are both wearing casual clothes and embracing. Rear view from behind them. The house is contemporary with a brick facade, driveway, balcony and a green lawn. The front door is also visible. Copy space

Republic Title Answers Your Questions on Recent Changes to Homestead Exemptions 

Homestead exemptions are a form of property tax relief provided to homeowners who use their property as their primary residence.

In the ever-evolving landscape of property taxes, understanding the intricacies of exemptions can significantly impact homeowners.  Recent changes to the Texas Constitution and the Tax Code have impacted homestead exemptions and how Central Appraisal Districts (CADs) handle those exemptions.  

In this post, we will be discussing what homeowners need to know about Proposition 4, which increased the amount of the homestead exemption resulting in significant savings for Texas homeowners, and recent modifications to the Texas Tax Code requiring all CADs to verify a property owner’s eligibility to continue to receive their homestead exemption.

What is a Homestead Exemption?

Before diving into the changes, let’s clarify what homestead exemptions entail. Homestead exemptions are a form of property tax relief provided to homeowners who use their property as their primary residence, also known as their homestead. These exemptions reduce the taxable value of a property, resulting in lower property taxes for eligible homeowners.

Recent Changes in Texas Tax Code

In Texas, where property taxes are a significant revenue source for local governments, any amendments to the tax code draw attention. The recent changes to Section 11.43 of the Texas Tax Code require the CADs to put procedures in place to confirm, once every five years (at a minimum), that homeowners still qualify for their homestead exemption.  It is important to note that this change may require homeowners to reapply for the homestead exemption or to provide documentation to continue to receive the benefits.  

If a homeowner receives a letter from the CAD regarding the need to reapply for a homestead exemption, or to provide additional documentation, it is vital that the homeowner provided that information before the deadline stated in the letter.  Failure to do so may trigger the loss of the exemption and any other related property tax exemptions resulting in a higher tax bill.

Proposition 4

Proposition 4 was a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by Texas voters in November 2023 that increased the amount of the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000.  This means eligible homeowners can now enjoy greater reductions in their property tax burdens, providing welcome relief amidst rising property values and tax rates.

How to Apply For The Homestead Exemption

Understanding how to apply for a homestead exemption is crucial for Texas homeowners looking to benefit from property tax relief. While the process may vary slightly depending on the county, here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for homestead exemptions in Texas. Generally speaking, you must own and occupy the property as your primary residence on January 1st of the tax year in which you apply for the exemption.  In some instances, it may be possible for a homeowner to apply for the homestead exemption immediately upon acquisition of the property.  If you have questions about when you may submit your application for a homestead exemption, please contact your local CAD.
  2. Gather Required Documentation: Collect the necessary documents required for the application process. This typically includes proof of ownership (deed or contract), proof of residency (driver’s license or voter registration listing the property address as your home address), and any additional documents requested by your local CAD.
  3. Complete the Application Form: Obtain the homestead exemption application form from your county’s appraisal district or download it from their website. Fill out the form accurately and completely, providing all requested information. For a list of North Texas CADs, visit Republic Title’s blog
  4. Submit the Application: Once you’ve completed the application form and gathered all necessary documentation, submit them to your county’s appraisal district by the CAD’s specified deadline. Most counties allow you to submit the application by mail, in person, or online, but those options may differ by county.
  5. Follow Up: After submitting your application, follow up with the CAD to ensure that they have received it and that there are no additional requirements or steps needed to process your application.
  6. Monitor Your Property Tax Bill: Once your homestead exemption application is approved, you should see the reduced exemption amount reflected on your next property tax bill. Monitor your tax bill to confirm that the exemption has been applied correctly.

The standard homestead exemption is just one of many exemptions in Texas. Other exemptions include the Disabled Veteran Exemption, Over 65 Exemption, Agricultural Exemption, and Disabled Individual Exemption. For more information on these exemptions, visit Republic Title’s website.  

By staying informed about the homestead exemption application process in your county, you can take advantage of the property tax relief available to Texas homeowners and maximize your savings. If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to your county’s appraisal district or consult with a tax professional for guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Additionally, when navigating real estate transactions in North Texas, partnering with a trusted title company such as Republic Title can streamline the process and provide assurance. With our extensive experience and expertise in handling real estate transactions, Republic Title is the preferred title partner for North Texas real estate transactions. Our dedicated team is committed to delivering exceptional service and ensuring smooth and successful closings for our clients.

Source: Republic Title Answers Your Questions on Recent Changes to Homestead Exemptions  – CandysDirt.com


March 2024 DFW Real Estate Stats

In March, there’s significant news across all reported counties: new and active listings have surged, particularly notable spikes seen in Collin and Denton counties. Despite this uptick in listing activity, inventory remains tight, with less than three months’ worth available.

Closed sales in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, and Tarrant counties have seen an almost 10% increase each, except for Rockwall County, where there’s a notable decline of nearly 40% compared to the previous year. Additionally, noteworthy is the decrease in days on market across all counties except Dallas, where it has risen by almost 5% compared to last year.

Given the inventory challenges, it’s unsurprising that average sales prices have edged up slightly from the previous year, with increases of less than 5% across most counties. However, Dallas County stands out with a significant 14.9% jump in average sales price compared to 2023.

Even still, the spring and summer market is upon us and given that the DFW Metroplex is in the top 10 of people moving here, so it promises to be a busy selling season!

Our stats infographics include a year over year comparison and area highlights for single family homes broken down by county. We encourage you to share these infographics and video with your sphere.

For more stats information, pdfs and graphics of our stats including detailed information by county, visit the Resources section on our website at DFW Area Real Estate Statistics | Republic Title of Texas.

For the full report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, click here. For NTREIS County reports click here.


Texas Housing Insight January 2024 Summary

Housing sales rebounded from last month’s drop despite mortgage rates remaining at elevated levels. The average home price grew alongside sales, with the cost rising over $9,000 since December 2023. Single-family starts decreased while permits increased.

Home Sales Skyrocket

According to the latest data, Texas had a 14.6 percent increase in total home sales month over month (MOM), resulting in 29,209 homes sold (Table 1). Notably, all major cities in Texas experienced an upswing in housing sales compared to fourth quarter 2023. The most significant increase was in Houston (37.3 percent) with a remarkable surge of over 2,000 additional sales compared to December. The rest of the Big Four experienced strong monthly gains of over 10 percent.

The state’s average days on market remained unchanged with both Dallas and Houston hovering at 50 days for the second consecutive month. Both Austin (74 days) and San Antonio (64 days) recorded decreases, falling by four and three days, respectively.

Statewide active listings rose slightly to 105,475. For the second straight month, San Antonio (12,542) was the only one of the Big Four to post a monthly increase at 2.4 percent. Austin had the largest drop in active listings with a 2.4 percent loss to 8,109. Dallas (22,008) and Houston (24,699) had reductions of less than half a percent.

The state’s new listings rose to 43,817 in January. All four major metros posted monthly increases with San Antonio leading the way at 14 percent. Houston also had a strong increase of 9 percent. Amid the rise in active listings, the months of inventory (MOI) increased to 3.7. Dallas fell from 3.1 to 2.7 since November.by 0.5 percent in January.

Mortgage Rates Remain Below Peak Values

Treasury and mortgage rates remain below their elevated 2023 levels as the ten-year U.S. Treasury Bondyield rose four basis points to 4.06 percent. However, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate rose 18 basis points to 6.64 percent.

Permits Rise, Starts Unchanged

Texas’ single-family construction permits increased 1.8 percent MOM to 12,723 issuances. Dallas continued its fall from last month, dropping 2.6 percent to 3,415 starts while Houston experienced a minor fluctuation of less than 1 percent. Austin and San Antonio reported strong increases of 7.9 and 14.3 percent, respectively.

Construction starts fell alongside permits, according to data from Dodge Construction Network. Single-family starts decreased 1 percent MOM to 11,908 units. Austin reported the only monthly increase among the Big Four, rising just shy of 2 percent. Houston (1.3 percent) and San Antonio (0.5 percent) moderated. Dallas starts plummeted in January, falling 22.1 percent to 2,537 starts.

The state’s total single-family starts value climbed from $2 billion in January 2023 to $2.7 billion in January 2024. Houston accounted for a third of the state’s total starts value. Starts activity is up from last year as Austin and San Antonio posted moderate increases.

Home Price Changes Mixed after Last Month’s Plunge

The state’s median home price rose 2.8 percent, reaching $341,840 (Figure 1). Among the major metropolitan areas, Houston and Dallas recorded the only increases, with 3.3 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Conversely, San Antonio saw home prices decline by 4.3 percent, which was the lowest among the Big Four. Notably, Austin had previously experienced the most significant price surge of 4.2 percent, but median prices decreased by 0.5 percent in January.

The majority of sales fall into the $200,000-$300,000 and $300,000-$400,000 price range cohorts, accounting for 27 and 25 percent of total home sales, respectively.

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index (Jan 2004=100) grew 0.3 percent MOM and remains 2.6 percent higher year over year. Austin’s annual appreciation remains well below the states average, falling to 3.2 percent.

Source – Texas Housing Insight | Texas Real Estate Research Center (tamu.edu) – Joshua Roberson (March 29, 2024)


Understanding The Differences Between Title Insurance and Homeowners Insurance

When navigating the world of insurance, it’s important to know the difference between title insurance and homeowners insurance.

As a crucial aspect of homeownership, insurance plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your investment and providing peace of mind. For many homeowners, understanding the nuances between various insurance types can be daunting. At Republic Title, we frequently receive inquiries about the distinctions between title insurance and homeowners insurance. In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between these two essential forms of insurance and why they’re both vital for protecting your interests as a homeowner.

Title Insurance

Title insurance protects the homeowner and lenders against financial loss arising from defects in the property’s title or ownership rights. These defects could include undisclosed liens, encumbrances, errors in public records, or even fraudulent claims to the property. Unlike other forms of insurance that protect against future events, title insurance insures against events that occurred or liens that were filed before the date of the policy.  

Before a title commitment and policy can be issued a title company searches the property records to uncover any existing issues with the title, but even the most thorough title search may fail to uncover certain hidden defects. Title insurance provides a safeguard against these unforeseen issues.

There are two types of title insurance policies: Owner’s Policies and Loan Policies.  An Owner’s Policy protects the homeowner’s ownership rights and remains in effect for as long as the homeowner or their heirs maintain an interest in the property.  A Loan Policy ensures that the lender (if there is one) has a valid lien on the property and protects the lender’s interests in the property for as long as the lender’s mortgage is outstanding.   

Title insurance premiums, which are regulated and set by the Texas Department of Insurance, are a one-time fee typically paid at the time of closing.  In the event of a covered title defect, the title insurance policy will provide financial protection that includes, but is not limited to legal fees, settlement costs, and any loss in property value.

Before a home purchase can get the clear to close, it must make it through many hurdles. Republic Title has skilled staff available every step of the way.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance, on the other hand, is a type of property insurance that provides financial protection against damage to the home and its contents, as well as liability for injuries or property damage caused by the homeowner or their family members. Unlike title insurance, which focuses on the property’s title, homeowners insurance primarily covers physical damage and liability risks associated with homeownership.

Homeowners insurance policies typically provide coverage for a wide range of perils, including fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, hail, and water damage (excluding floods and earthquakes, which usually require separate coverage). In addition to damage to the physical structure of the home, homeowners insurance may also cover personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, and electronics.

In the event of a covered loss, homeowners insurance will reimburse the homeowner for repair or replacement costs, up to the policy’s coverage limits. Most homeowners insurance policies also include liability coverage, which protects the homeowner against lawsuits arising from bodily injury or property damage suffered by others while on the insured property.

Homeowners insurance premiums are typically paid on an annual basis. The cost of homeowners insurance will vary between insurance companies and due to factors such as the home’s location, construction materials, and the homeowner’s claims history. To ensure adequate coverage, homeowners should regularly review their insurance policies and adjust their coverage limits as needed to account for changes in property value or personal belongings.

Key Differences:

  1. Coverage Focus: Title insurance focuses on protecting against defects in the property’s title, while homeowners insurance primarily covers physical damage to the home and personal belongings, as well as liability risks.
  2. Nature of Risks: Title insurance protects against past events or defects in the title, while homeowners insurance protects against future events such as fire, theft, or liability claims.
  3. Payment Structure: Title insurance premiums are typically paid as a one-time fee at the time of closing, whereas homeowners insurance premiums are paid annually or in installments.
  4. Duration of Coverage: Title insurance remains in effect for as long as the homeowner or their heirs maintain an interest in the property, while homeowners insurance policies are typically renewed annually.
  5. Coverage Limits: Title insurance coverage is based on the property’s purchase price, while homeowners insurance coverage limits can be adjusted to reflect changes in property value or personal belongings.

In conclusion, while both title insurance and homeowners insurance are essential for protecting homeowners’ interests, they serve different purposes and cover different aspects of homeownership. By understanding the differences between these two types of insurance, homeowners can ensure comprehensive coverage for their property investments.

Source: Candysdirt.com – What Are The Differences Between Title Insurance And Homeowners Insurance? (candysdirt.com)


Republic Title Tip – Title Insurance: Safeguarding Your Home

When it comes to purchasing a home, the excitement of finding the perfect property can often overshadow the importance of ensuring the title is clear and free of any disputes. Yet, overlooking this crucial step can lead to significant financial and legal ramifications. This is where title insurance steps in as a guardian of your investment, providing assurance and protection against unforeseen risks. In this Republic Title Tip, we delve into the significance of title insurance for homebuyers, shedding light on why it’s an indispensable aspect of the real estate transaction process.

What Is Title Insurance?

First and foremost, let’s unravel the concept of title insurance. In essence, title insurance is a specialized type of insurance that indemnifies homeowners against loss arising from defects in the title or ownership of a property.

Unlike other forms of insurance that protect against future events, title insurance is a one-time premium and focuses on mitigating risks associated with past events that may affect the property’s legal ownership.

Why Is Title Insurance Necessary?

Consider this: When purchasing a home, you’re not just acquiring the physical structure and land. You’re also buying the legal history.

By conducting a comprehensive title search, title insurance companies unearth any potential clouds on the title, such as unpaid taxes, liens, undisclosed heirs, or unresolved legal disputes. If an issue arises after purchase, title insurance provides coverage for loss, costs, attorney’s fees, and expenses, thereby shielding homeowners from financial liabilities that could otherwise jeopardize their investment.

Title Insurance for Ownership Disputes

One of the primary risks title insurance protects against is the threat of ownership disputes. Imagine purchasing your dream home, only to discover months or even years later that another party has a legal claim to the property.

Such scenarios can arise for various reasons, including errors in public records, forged documents, or undisclosed heirs asserting their rights to the property. Without title insurance, resolving these disputes can entail lengthy and costly legal battles, potentially resulting in the loss of your home and investment.

Title Fraud, Errors, and Property Easements

Moreover, title insurance also guards against title defects that may arise post-purchase. These defects can range from errors or omissions in the title documentation, fraud, or forgery, to someone else having an easement on your property, or no access to your property. Without adequate protection, homeowners could find themselves facing substantial financial burdens to rectify these issues or even risk losing their property altogether.

Republic Title understands the significance of title insurance in safeguarding their clients’ investments. As a trusted resource and industry expert, they go above and beyond to ensure your real estate transactions are conducted with the utmost diligence and integrity. Their team of experienced professionals conducts thorough title searches, leveraging technology and industry expertise to identify and mitigate any potential risks to your investment.

Republic Title offers a range of title insurance policies tailored to meet the unique needs of homeowners and lenders alike. Whether you’re purchasing a new home, refinancing an existing mortgage, or conducting a commercial real estate transaction, Republic Title can provide comprehensive coverage and exceptional service at every step.

Title insurance is not just another box to check off during the home-buying process — it’s a critical safeguard covering title risks. By partnering with Republic Title, you can trust your real estate transactions are in expert hands, backed by decades of industry experience and a commitment to excellence.

Source: Candysdirt.com – Title Insurance: Safeguarding Your Home Investment – CandysDirt.com


Texas Housing Insight December 2023 Summary

Despite mortgage rates continuing to fall from their elevated level, housing sales haven’t rebounded. The average price has fallen alongside home sales, with homes costing $2,000 less than in November. Single-family starts increased while permits moved downward. Homes sat on the market for longer in December as average days on market reported its first increase since the beginning of the year.

Home Sales Fall Alongside Listings

Mortgage rates continued to fall, but their elevated level remains problematic for homebuyers as Texas’ total home sales fell 1.9 percent month over month (MOM) to 25,430 (Table 1). Among the Big Four, San Antonio reported the only gain in home sales, jumping 7.1 percent to 2,684. Houston’s home sales decreased by 16.6 percent, losing over 1,000 sales in December. Austin and Dallas also experienced losses, falling by 9.2 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. The gap between Houston and Dallas widened as Houston reported poor monthly sales. Despite rates falling, they remain elevated, resulting in an affordability problem for homebuyers.

The state’s average days on market (DOM) climbed to 57, marking the first increase since April. This increase suggests longer listing times could be approaching. All four of the major metros experienced increases in DOM with Houston (50 days) and Dallas (49 days) rising by seven and four days, respectively. Austin (77 days) and San Antonio (68 days) had minor fluctuations from the previous month.

Housing supplies remained elevated, but active listings fell for the first time since May, falling to 103,395 listings. San Antonio (12,254) was the only one of the Big Four to post a monthly increase at 1 percent. Austin had the largest drop in active listings with a 13.3 percent loss to 8,307 listings. Dallas (22,056) and Houston (24,770) had moderate reductions. Despite the fall in active listings in December, levels are still on pace with 2019.

The state’s new listings fell 1.89percent to 42,658 in December. All four of the major metros posted monthly decreases of between 2 and 4 percent. Austin had a 2 percent decrease to 3,766 listings while San Antonio had the largest decrease at 4 percent. Amid the fall in active listings, the months of inventory (MOI) experienced a small decrease to 3.6 with Austin contributing heavily to the fall, dropping over 10 percent.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Plunge

Treasury and mortgage rates continued to fall amidst rumors of interest rate hikes being finished. The ten-year U.S. Treasury Bond yield fell 48 basis points to 4.02 percent. Likewise, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate fell 62 basis points to 6.82 percent. If rates continue to fall into the start of 2024, housing affordability should improve.

Permits Unchanged, Starts on the Rise

Texas’ single-family construction permits moderated just shy of a quarter of a percent decrease from November, falling to 12,392 issuances. Dallas and San Antonio had monthly dips falling 5.3 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively. Houston and Austin both experienced minor fluctuations of less than ten issuances.

Construction starts grew while construction permits remained effectively unchanged, according to data from Dodge Construction Network. Single-family starts increased 2.5 percent MOM to 12,222 units. Despite the Texas increase, San Antonio (8,08 starts) reported the only monthly increase among the Big Four, rising 20.6 percent. Austin (1,392 starts) fell 13.6 percent, making the ratio of Austin to San Antonio starts fall under the typical 2:1 ratio. Dallas (3,250 starts) and Houston (3,448 starts) continued to outperform the rest of the state, combining for 55 percent of total starts.

The state’s year-to-date total single-family starts value climbed to $29.8 billion, up from $27.7 billion in November. Starts values continued to mirror 2019 values since May, however, value fell just outside the $1 billion dollar threshold in December. Houston and Dallas accounted for over 60 percent of the state’s construction value.

Median Home Prices Fall Despite Big Four Rising

Texas’ median home price fell 0.7 percent to $332,300 (Table 2). Among the Big Four metro areas, Dallas posted the only decrease, falling by 1 percent. Austin saw the greatest price boost with a 4.2 percent gain, raising the price to its highest level since January. Home prices across the Big Four remain above pre-COVID prices.

Home prices continued to hover around $200,000-$300,000 and $300,000-$400,000, accounting for 26 and 24 percent of total home sales, respectively.

The Texas Repeat Sales Home Price Index (Dec 2004=100) fell 0.9 percent MOM but remains 2 percent up from the previous year. Houston had the highest annual appreciation at 2.6 percent YOY increase while Austin showed the lowest annual appreciation at negative 3 percent.

Source – Joshua Roberson and Koby McMeans (February 20, 2024)