Why do I need an Owners Title Insurance Policy?
Your lender, if you have one, will require that you purchase a title insurance policy to protect them in the event there is a challenge that arises to your ownership in the property you are purchasing. To make sure you have the same coverage, you must purchase an Owner’s Policy that will protect you as well, otherwise, you’ll have to hire an attorney at your own expense to represent you against that challenge and you’ll pay then for any loss that should occur. That’s why we recommend that everyone purchase an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy.
Do I need a survey?
Sometimes surveys are required by lenders in order to make a loan on the property. Other times, they are optional. But, the only way that you can be assured as to where your property lines are as well as the location of easements and rights of way that affect your property, is to have a current survey of the property. Oftentimes, if you already own the property and are refinancing, an existing survey will give you this information without having to invest in a new survey. So, do you need a survey, well it depends on your unique situation, but keep in mind that you will at some point want to be able to tell exactly where your property lines lie.
How long does the closing process take?
There is no specific timeframe for getting a closing finished. It is dependent on how long it takes to get all the pieces to come together in order to be able to set a closing time. We’ve seen them happen as quickly as a week for a refinance or a cash purchase transaction, to being delayed for several months in order to get final loan approval or agreement between the parties. In general 30 to 45 days, seems to be about the length of time in today’s environment on residential transactions.
Can I choose my settlement agent, even if my lender/REALTOR has a preferred list?
Yes, as the buyer/borrower, you always have the right to choose. But, you will want to do your homework and make sure that your choice has experience in handling real estate transactions accurately and efficiently. If not, your closing could be delayed and lead to additional problems. Typically, the lender or REALTOR list is generated from their experience based on those providers who will get the deals done to meet their demands. As long as you’re comfortable that there are no undisclosed ownership or conflicts of interest, it is quite often more efficient to choose someone from the lender/REALTOR list. Of course, if Covenant Real Estate Services is not on the list, let us know and we will work with you anyway.
When can I have my money?
After the settlement occurs, we are required to take the legal documents to the appropriate courthouse and put them on public record before giving out any money and getting funds from the lender. For a purchase transaction, that usually occurs by the end of the following business day of the closing. Assuming there is no problem with updating the property title search, we can issue checks after the documents are on record. If you’re refinancing a primary residence, the lender is required to give you three business days to let you change you mind. This is called the rescission period. After the rescission period expires, we then take the documents to the courthouse, update the title search and then record them in the public records. After that, we can then show you the money.
Can you write my contract for me if I want to buy or sell a property without a REALTOR?
No, although Roger has his law degree, he is not a practicing attorney. So, we can’t give legal advice or serve in any capacity as an attorney. But, we have many attorney clients and friends that we work with in these situations to handle any legal services that you may need, including writing or reviewing contracts, preparing deeds or other needed legal documents, or giving counsel in the even something should get sideways. Due to Roger’s experience in private practice, he knows when you will need to get an attorney involved.
Can I bring a personal check to closing?
NO. We must have certified funds. Most people either bring a cashier’s check or send wired funds.
Title Insurance Specific Questions
What is title insurance?
Title insurance is the application of insurance principles to the risks involved in any real estate transaction.
What are some of those risks?
There are two main categories of risks in real estate transactions. 1. Hidden hazards- risks that can’t be detected in title examinations and 2. Human errors
What are some examples of hidden hazards?
Forgery, incompetency of grantor or mortgager, unknown heirs, fraud, impersonation, etc.
How is title insurance different from other types of insurance?
Title insurance protects against any future losses that could arise out of events that have previously occurred.
How do you figure the annual premium?
There are no annual premiums. One premium, based on the amount of the sale or the mortgage, is paid when the policy is issued and it remains good for the life of the policy.
What do you mean by life of the policy?
A mortgagee policy remains in effect until the loan has been paid off. An owner’s policy is good forever. Even if you sell your property, the owner’s policy continues to protect you and your heirs on your warranties.
If I have an attorney examine the title, can’t he or she assure me that my title is good?
All attorneys know that there are hazards in real estate titles which cannot possible be discovered, even in the most diligent search of public records. For example, the attorney cannot be sure that the marital rights of all previous owners have been relinquished correctly; that all mortgagees, judgments, etc. affecting the property have been indexed correctly in the record room; that all signatures on all recorded documents are genuine; that there is no unknown heir of a former owner who can appear to assert a claim. These are a few of the matters that can come up and defeat real estate titles. Among others are things such as fraud, duress, infancy, insanity, false personations, etc.
How does title insurance help protect my home investment?
Title insurance places the assets of a corporation behind the title to your home. If attacked, the title will be defended without cost to you and if the title, or any part of it, should be other than as insured, you will be reimbursed, up to the face amount of your policy, for any financial loss experienced.