What-is-a-Title-Policy

What Is A Title Policy

A title insurance policy is an insurance policy that insures you against liens or other claims against your property.  Unlike other types of insurance, you pay the premium one time and the policy generally insures you for as long as you own the property.  In Texas, Title Insurance rates are regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance and the rate is based on the amount of coverage provided by the policy. There are two basic types of title insurance, an owner’s title policy and a loan title policy.  Most financial lenders require a loan title policy as security for their investment in your property just as they require homeowners insurance or other types of coverage for their protection.  Owner’s title insurance lets the new homeowner feel safe and confident there are no other claims as to the ownership of the insured property.  Among other matters, it ensures access to the property, gives the homeowner the right to occupy the property, and provides indefeasible title. 

For more information, go to Blog for videos like this and other helpful information. Blog | REPUBLIC TITLE

What-to-expect-at-closing

What To Expect At Closing

There are many steps in the home buying process – saving, searching, shopping, inspecting, etc. Once you get through all of these steps, you have finally made it to the closing table and are so close to being in your new home! Here’s a brief description of what to expect at closing:

The Buyer will sign numerous forms including settlement statements, title, and loan documents, if applicable.  Important documents include, but are not limited to, closing disclosures, promissory notes, and deed of trust if financing is applicable and a copy of warranty deed for review to confirm the name of the people taking title. Now after signing, the closing team will then process the documents for funding to finalize the sale. This can take anywhere from an hour for a cash transaction to up to several hours if the title company has documentation to submit to the lender for approval. If the seller has already completed their side of the closing for the sale of the home you are buying, the last step is obtaining the mortgage company’s approval to release the funds. Now once the transaction is funded and all monies are dispersed, the buyer gets the keys which is the best part. The title company then submits the warranty deed to the appropriate government office for recording which conveys title of the home to the new owners.

For more information, reach out to a Republic Title rep or your real estate agent. We look forward to seeing you at the closing table!

Spanish-Resources-blog-graphic

Spanish Resources

Home Seller Guide Digital Flipbook Version

Home Seller’s Guide

Home Seller’s Guide Digital Flipbook – Republic Title

We are excited to introduce our new Home Seller’s Guide that is available as a luxury printed booklet or as a digital download. Our Home Seller’s Guides have everything that you need to know for a smooth home selling process. Our Home Seller’s Guide includes information on:

  • Who is Republic Title and Why You Need Title Insurance
  • 7 Benefits of Using a REALTOR
  • Staging Your Home to Sell
  • Lingo You Should Know
  • Home Selling Road Map
  • Types of Closings
  • Avoiding Common Closing Delays
  • What to Expect on Closing Day
  • After Closing Reminders
  • Moving Checklists
  • Republic Title Locations

To view the digital version of the Home Seller’s Guide, visit our website. For a list of more Seller Resources, visit the Seller Resources page on our website. If you are interested in getting printed versions, please reach out to your business development representative.

 

Buying a home is the largest transaction most of us will make in our lives and Republic Title is proud to be the smart option for protecting your property rights.

 

Important-After-Closing-Reminders-for-Sellers

Important After Closing Reminders for Sellers

1. Cancel your homeowners insurance with your insurance agent
once the transaction has closed, funded and your personal items have been removed from the home. There may be a prorated refund of your homeowner’s policy, based on the latest renewal date, owed to you. If you are remaining at the property after closing, you should notify your insurance agent of this change.

2. Cancel your automated deduction
for your house payment with your current lender if applicable.

3. Your lender will refund all monies left in your escrow account
approximately 15 to 30 business days after receipt of the payoff funds. The lender will mail a package containing your original Promissory Note marked “PAID” and other loan documents. Retain these for future reference. When you receive this confirmation, you may also receive a “Release of Lien” document from your lender. If the release has not already been recorded with the County Clerk’s office, please forward it to your closer at the title company and we will send it to the county to be filed, thereby releasing the lien of record.

4. Refer to your closing statement
Depending on what time of the year you sold your property, the Taxing Appraisal District may not have updated the account to show a change in ownership. If you receive a Tax Bill for the property that you sold, refer to your closing statement and send the bill to the new owners.

5. Important to note
You will receive a Substitute Form 1099-S from Republic Title within 30 days of closing. In addition, retain your closing statement, it serves as a Substitute Form 1099-S for tax purposes.

Click here for print version

How-Does-RON-Work2

How Does RON Work?

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.

Step 1 Identity Verification

RON uses the latest identity verification technologies to make notarizations more secure.
A. Signer passes a knowledge-based identity quiz
B. Signer submits ID for review
C. Third-party software performs forensic test on ID

Step 2 Audio-Video Conference

The notary and signer talk to each other over a webcam in real-time and observe the necessary digital documents.

Step 3 “Tamper-Sealed” Documents

The notary adds a “tamper-seal” to date/time-stamp the notarized documents.  The seal will indicate whether any of the documents are altered in the future.  The signer downloads a PDF of the completed, digitally signed and digitally notarized, document.

Step 4 Audit Trail and Notary Records

Like with traditional notarizations, the notary keeps a journal logging the basic details of the notarization.  The journal can be kept in a secure digital format that includes a video of the notarial act, which can be used to prove who actually digitally signed the document.

Click here if you would like more information on our digital settlement services.

Print Version

Evaults-&-Enotes

eVaults and eNotes

What does a vault have to do with an eClosing? Plenty. As eClosings become more common, fundamental elements of the mortgage process will change. For example, instead of a paper promissory note, you may have an eNote and eVault. The note is one of the key lender documents within a loan package that borrowers sign at closing. It’s the borrower’s written promise to repay the loan within the specified term. The note is also very important to investors who buy and sell them on the secondary market. The note plays an important part in a mortgage backed security. Think of an eNote as the electronic version of a paper note. The eNote gets electronically signed instead of wet signed at closing. You must be able to identify the original version of the eNote. Think of the electronic version as a PDF. There could be infinite versions of it floating around. How do investors know the version they are buying is the original?  To solve this, the mortgage industry got smart and did two things:

  1. They created the MERS eRegistry, the legal system of record for identifying the controller and location of the authoritative copy of the eNote.
  2. Created standards for how to store eNotes in something called an eVault.

eVaults are technology platforms that are built to support the handling, status, and storage of eNotes. They always have integrations to the MERS eRegistry and often have integrations to other eVaults and trading partners. The MERS eRegistry is the librarian of the eNote world. It tracks who controls each eNote and in which eVault it is stored. When a lender creates an eNote, they register it with the MERS eRegistry  which notifies the librarian of the controller and location of the eNote. If you are exposed to an eNote, now you know what a vault has to do with it.

For more information on eClosings, visit www.republictitle.com/evolve

Click here to go to our YouTube page to see more of our helpful videos. 

eVaults and eNotes

Backup-Offer-Blog-Header

Backup Offers

If you’re a buyer or a Realtor in this housing market, you surely understand the struggles of “winning” the bidding war that many homes for sale are garnering. But, don’t lose hope if you or your buyer doesn’t get the house on the first offer, there’s always the chance for the first offer to fall through and that’s where the backup offer comes in!

Janet Allen and Scott Rooker discuss some of the benefits for both Buyers and Sellers with submitting a backup offer, some common questions surrounding backup offers and even if you can submit a backup offer to a backup offer! Take a listen to their discussion on the topic and visit our YouTube page for even more helpful real estate videos. Click here for this and other videos.

Here’s a link to the Addendum mentioned in the video: https://www.trec.texas.gov/sites/defa…

For more information or to get in contact with your Business Development Representative at Republic Title visit: https://rttprod.wpengine.com/residen

Closing Process Overview

Closing Process Overview

We are continuing to celebrate National Homeownership Month which is a time to celebrate the benefits that homeownership brings to families and communities. In honor of National Homeownership Month, we have curated a list of our most popular homeownership resources for new homebuyers. Next up is our Closing Process Overview.

When you are preparing to buy a home, there are many steps in the process for the Buyer, REALTOR, mortgage company, and title company. We break down the common steps for each below:

Buyer and Realtor

  • Buyer or buyer’s agent delivers signed contract, option fee and earnest money to title company
  • Buyer or buyer’s agent provides copy of contract to lender to proceed with loan application
  • Order inspections (general and pest, etc.)
  • Buyer selects home warranty and obtains homeowner’s insurance
  • Buyer brings I.D. and “good funds” to closing (wire or cashier’s check)

Mortgage Company

  • Verify assets, liabilities, income/job stability and credit history
  • Order, receive and review appraisal
  • Collect and submit requirements to underwriter
  • Underwriting approval
  • Order flood certificate
  • Prepare and deliver loan documents to title company for closing
  • Review final signed documents sent from title company
    and authorize funding

Title Company

  • Closer receipts contract, option fee and earnest money
  • Order title work and tax certificate
  • Abstractor searches and examines title and issues title commitment
  • Closer reviews title commitment and sends to lender, buyer, buyer’s agent for review and acceptance
  • Title company receives closing disclosure/closing instructions from lender and forwards to all parties
  • Closing
  • Title company sends signed documents to lender for final approval
  • Funding: All money is distributed (which includes seller proceeds, REALTOR® commissions and loan payoffs)
  • Buyer collects keys to property

To download the Closing Process Flowchart resource, click here. To view other Home Buying Resources, visit the Resources page on our website.

Lingo You Should Know

Lingo You Should Know When Buying a Home

We are continuing to celebrate National Homeownership Month which is a time to celebrate the benefits that homeownership brings to families and communities. In honor of National Homeownership Month, we have curated a list of our most popular homeownership resources for new homebuyers. Next up is our Lingo You Should Know.

When you are preparing to buy a home, there are many words that may be unfamiliar to you. This list of commonly used real estate terms is intended to help you in the home buying or selling process.

Adjustable rate mortgage (ARMs) – A home loan with an interest rate that can change periodically. This means that the monthly payments can go up or down. Generally, the initial interest rate is lower than that of a comparable fixed-mortgage rate. After that period ends, interest rates, and your monthly payments, can go lower or higher.

Amortization – The repayment schedule of a loan, including payments of principal (the original amount borrowed) and interest. An amortization schedule displays, in a table format, the amount of principal and interest included with each payment, along with the remaining loan balance.

Appraisal – The estimated value of a property based on a qualified appraiser’s written analysis. Banks typically require appraisals before issuing loans to ensure the estimated value of the property adequately supports the sales price and the loan being taken out by the Buyer.

Buyer’s Agent – A real estate agent who represents the interests of homebuyers.

Closing Costs – These refer to miscellaneous expenses (typically paid by the buyer) to close the deal. Expenses can include mortgage fees, recording fees, title insurance, transfer taxes, credit check fees, commissions, inspection fees, appraisal fees, and more.

Closing Disclosure – Final account of your loan’s interest rate and fees, mortgage closing costs, your monthly mortgage payment, and the total of all payments and finance charges. This document also notes the amount the Buyer has to bring to closing or the Seller will receive in proceeds.

Comps. – An abbreviation for “comparable properties,” which are used as a comparison in determining the current value of a property that is being appraised.

Contingencies – Particular conditions that must be met prior to closing a real estate transaction such as a home inspection (to ensure the home has no serious defects), a financing contingency (which releases a buyer from the sales contract if their loan falls through), or a contingency that a buyer must first sell their current home.

Deed – The legal document transferring ownership or title to a property.

Earnest money – Money that the Buyer deposits with the title company or directly with the Seller as a good faith gesture that they are serious about buying a home.

Escrow – A legal arrangement in which a third party temporarily holds large sums of money or assets until a particular condition has been met (e.g., the fulfilment of a purchase agreement).

Escrow Reserves – Funds collected as part of the borrower’s monthly payment and held in escrow for the payment of the borrower’s property taxes and/or homeowners insurance.

Executed – When a legal document has had its contents agreed upon by Buyer and Seller and signed by all parties to the document.

Final Walk-through The last walk-through of the home before closing, after any inspections and agreed upon repairs are made.

Fixed-rate Mortgage – A loan with a fixed interest rate and payment amount for the duration of the loan repayment period. They are traditionally 30 years in length but can be issued for 15 years, 10 years, or another duration.

HOA Transfer CertificateA document issued by a Property Owners Association or Condo Association (if applicable) that outlines the fees associated with the transfer of the property that are to be collected from the buyer and seller at closing. 

Home Inspection – A thorough professional examination that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property (plumbing, foundation, roof, electrical, HVAC systems, etc.) to identify problems with the house before purchasing. A pest inspection is also common as well as a pool inspection when applicable.

Homeowners Insurance Insurance that covers losses and damages to an individual’s residence, along with furnishings and other assets in the home. 

Home Warranty An insurance on some of the items in your home that can lead to costly repairs when in need of work, such as, HVAC systems, appliances, and even pest control. Every policy is different, so read your policy well to see what is covered. The seller can provide a dollar amount towards a Home Warranty if it is selected and agreed upon within the contract.

Loan Approval Loan Approval is given when the borrower has met all qualifications set by the lender and their file has gone through underwriting.

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) The amount paid by a borrower for mortgage insurance, either to a government agency such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or to a private mortgage insurance (PMI) company.

Mortgage Lender The lender providing funds for a mortgage. Lenders also manage the credit and financial information review, the property and the loan application process through closing.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — The MLS is a local organization that collects, catalogs and distributes home listings for sale and lease as well as data on past sales. Real Estate Agents get access to the MLS by being a paid member of the organization. Some of the information in the MLS is distributed to popular listing websites.

Offer – A formal request to buy a home. This is most often presented to a seller in the form of the contract and addenda required to purchase/sell a property that outlines all the terms and conditions of the offer.

Points – Prepaid interest on a loan, often equal to one percent of the loan amount.

Possession – Occupancy of the home by the buyer can happen at two different times, on closing or after closing. What this means is the buyer can get control and right of entry to the home on the day of closing or upon some later agreed upon date.

Pre-approval (loan) – A lender’s preliminary approval to grant a loan up to a specified amount (subject to receiving full documentation). Pre-approval for a loan strengthens a buyer’s negotiating position with a seller.

Pre-qualification – Less “official” than a mortgage pre-approval, banks offer (at no cost or obligation) pre-qualifications to estimate the amount a buyer may be able to borrow. It is often used early in a buyer’s search to help determine a reasonable price range.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – A monthly insurance payment that may be required if a buyer’s down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. It protects lenders against loss if a borrower defaults on their loan.

Rate Lock – An agreement in which an interest rate is “locked in” or guaranteed for a specified period of time prior to closing.

REALTOR®  This is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors, meaning they uphold certain standards and codes of ethics.

Real Estate Broker  A real estate agent that has additional education, has passed the state broker’s exam, and meets minimum transaction requirements.

Sales Contract – A legal agreement between a buyer and seller to purchase real estate, for a specified price and terms, for a limited time period. This is the finalized and executed offer contract and addenda.

Seller’s Agent – The real estate agent who represents the seller of a piece of property. Their job is to act in the best interests of the seller, marketing their home to potential buyers, and negotiating on the seller’s behalf.

Survey – A drawing of your property prepared by a Registered Professional Land Surveyor that locates the boundary lines, any improvements, easements, building lines, encroachments of any structures or improvements over the property lines, easements or building lines on the property.

Survey Deletion Coverage – The Owner’s Title Policy contains a standard exception to: “Any discrepancies, conflicts, or shortage in area or boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions, or any overlapping of improvements.” When the Buyer purchases Survey Coverage, this standard exception is amended to remove everything except the words “shortages in area” and exceptions are added to exclude any matters currently shown on the survey from coverage in the Policy. 

Title – Document that refers to your right of ownership and thus your ability to sell.

Title Insurance – Insurance purchased to protect against any unknown liens or debts that may be placed against the property as well as any claims by anyone else that they own or have any rights to your property that are not known or disclosed at closing. 

Underwriting – The process used to determine loan approval. It involves evaluating the property and the borrower’s credit and ability to pay the mortgage.

To download the Lingo You Should Know resource, click here. To view other Home Buying Resources, visit the Resources page on our website.