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Title Insurance FAQs for Home Buyers

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Title-Insurance-FAQ-top
Did you know that title insurance is the most effective, most accepted and least expensive way to protect property ownership rights? Because most consumers purchase title insurance only a handful of times in a lifetime, questions do arise when the time comes to purchase a property.

What is Title?

Title is your ownership right to your property.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a policy that protects your investment and property rights. There are two different types of title insurance: owner’s policy and lender’s policy.

OWNER’S POLICY

An owner’s policy protects your property rights for as long as you or your heirs own the home.

LENDER’S POLICY

A lender’s policy is usually required by the lender and protects only the lender’s financial interests. The buyer typically pays for this policy, but this varies depending on geography. For more information, please contact your Ticor Title Representative.

Why Should I Purchase Owners Title Insurance?

Owner’s title insurance is the best way to protect your property from future legal claims. It’s a one-time fee that covers you and your heirs for as long as you own your home. The owner’s policy also covers potential legal fees for settling claims against your property 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. The typical owner’s title insurance policy costs around 0.5% of the home’s purchase price.

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 peace of mind never will.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Ticor Title helps educate homebuyers like you about the value of title insurance so you can protect your property rights. Contact a Ticor Title representative today to learn more about title insurance and the home closing process.

Protect Your Property Rights With Owner’s Title Insurance

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Each year, approximately 20% of homebuyers fail to protect themselves by not getting owner’s title insurance. Unfortunately, this leaves them exposed to serious financial risk—causing endless worry and regret.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your property rights, so you can rest assured once you’ve purchased your home.

Looking For Potential Threats

During the home-closing process, your title professional will help transition the home from the seller to you, the homebuyer, by examining public records. Generally, if a problem is discovered, the title professional works to resolve them before you purchase the home.

However, even after a title search is performed and you purchase your home, problems could arise that threaten your ownership rights. Examples include:

  • Undiscovered tax liens
  • Forged signatures in the chain of title
  • Recording errors
  • Undisclosed easements
  • Title claims by missing heirs* or ex-spouses

Getting owner’s title insurance protects your property rights from threats like these. Here’s a real-life example of how it works.

True Story

A family in Missouri unknowingly purchased their home from a seller who had taken out a separate $419,000 loan on the property. But this fact was not discovered during the closing process, and the family’s lender paid the seller directly instead of paying off the existing loan.

Soon, the family faced foreclosure because someone else had claim against their title. Fortunately, the family had owner’s title insurance. So the title company paid the debt and the family kept their home—and peace of mind.

This story has a positive ending, but without owner’s title insurance, the family could have faced serious costs, and even eviction.

Protect Yourself

There are two types of title insurance: lender’s title insurance and owner’s title insurance.

Lender’s title insurance is required by most lenders and banks because it protects their loan investments. Usually, you purchase this policy as the homebuyer. If you only have a lender’s policy, where the outstanding loan is covered, your equity is not protected. Therefore, you could have your property rights taken away if someone else has claim to your home.

Owner’s title insurance is the policy that protects your property rights from legal and financial threats like those mentioned in the story you just read. That’s why millions of homebuyers each year make the smart decision to get owner’s title insurance. It’s a low, one-time fee that provides the peace of mind that every homebuyer deserves, for as long as you or your family* own your home. In many areas, the seller purchases the policy for you. Ask your title professional how it’s handled in your area.

Support and Free Information

To buy your home with confidence, you need to work with a trusted title professional. They’re the experts who will help you throughout the home closing process. They will also advise you on how to protect your property rights and avoid costly problems by getting owner’s title insurance.

For more information, please contact us.

*This article 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 article. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a Ticor Title representative.

What is an ID Affidavit and Why is it Needed?

What is an ID Affidavit

What is an ID Affidavit

Understanding an ID Affidavit

What’s in a name? When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property, the answer is, “Quite a bit.”

An ID Affidavit provides title companies with the information they need to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from others with similar names. After identifying the true buyers and sellers, title companies may disregard the judgments, liens or other matters on the public records under similar names.

To help you better understand this sensitive subject, below are answers to common questions relating to ID Affidavits.

What is an ID Affidavit?

A Statement of Information is a form routinely requested from the buyer, seller and borrower in a transaction where title insurance is sought. The completed form provides the title company with information needed to adequately examine documents so as to disregard matters which do not affect the property to be insured, matters which actually apply to some other person.

What Does an ID Affidavit Do?

Every day documents affecting real property – liens, court decrees, bankruptcies – are recorded. Whenever a title company uncovers a recorded document in which the name is the same or similar to that of the buyer, seller or borrower in a title transaction, the title company must ask, “Does this document affect the parties we are insuring?” Because if it does, it affects title to the property and would, therefore, be listed as an exception from coverage under the title policy.

A properly completed ID Affidavit will allow the title company to differentiate between parties with the same or similar names when searching documents recorded by name. This protects all parties involved and allows the title company to competently carry out its duties without unnecessary delay.

A Great Finish to Another Strong Year for Ticor Title

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Ticor Title 2016 Fact Sheet
Ticor Title is a member of the FNF family of companies and the nation’s largest group of title companies and title insurance underwriters that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States.

Ticor Title 2016 Full Year Fact Sheet

FNF Core Title Operation Performance

The fourth quarter of 2016 was a great finish to another strong year for our title insurance business, as we generated fourth quarter adjusted pre-tax title earnings of $292 million and a 15.8% adjusted pre-tax title margin. For the full-year 2016, we produced more than $8.2 billion in total revenue and a 14.7% adjusted pre-tax title margin.

View PDF

Residential Real Estate Overview

Fidelity National Title Group purchase opened and closed orders increased by 7% and 12%, respectively on a daily basis in the fourth quarter. In addition, the mix of business during the fourth quarter shifted more towards purchase transactions, with purchase business accounting for 59% of open orders and 55% of closed orders.

Commercial Real Estate Overview

Our commercial operations experienced another strong quarter to end 2016. Total commercial revenue of $285 million was our second highest quarterly in company history. For fullyear 2016 total commercial revenue of approximately $973 million was just 5% behind the record setting 2015 performance.

Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

As we progress through 2017, we continue to strive to maximize earnings from our operations and remain the most profitable title insurance company in the country.

What Every Realtor Should Know About Owner’s Title Insurance

what every realtor should know about owner's title insurance

What every realtor should know about owner's title insurance

Make sure all of your clients are protected

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 title insurance 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.

Enduring value

The good news is that owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers financially, as long as they or their heirs* own the home. For a low, one-time fee (average of 0.5% of purchase price), homebuyers can rest assured, knowing they are protected from inheriting existing debts or claims to their property.

State regulations and CFPB

Each state government regulates its own title insurance costs. 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. The party that pays for the owner’s title insurance policy varies from state to state, and sometimes even within a state. For more information about title insurance, or to find a company approved to issue an owner’s policy, please direct your homebuyer clients to www.homeclosing101.org.

Free resources for Realtors®

Together, real estate agents, land title insurance professionals and other stakeholders involved in real estate transactions can protect homebuyers and provide them with the peace of mind they deserve during the home closing process.

For more information about title insurance, and to get free resources for real estate agents, visit www.alta.org/realtor.

*This article 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 Ticor Title representative.

Streamline Your Workflow with Instant CPLs and Rates

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Instant Rates Instant CPL
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference as to how smoothly a real estate transaction flows. Among the little things are Title & Escrow Rates and Closing Protection Letters (CPLs). The old school way of receiving accurate title & escrow rates or a CPL involved contacting an escrow officer or assistant to request information specific to a transaction. But what do you do if it’s after hours or on the weekend? What if your preferred closer is unavailable or in a signing appointment? What if your deal may fall apart if you don’t receive an answer immediately?

Here are two ways to eliminate delays and streamline the transaction workflow:
  1. Closing Protection Letters Delivered in 1-Minute or LessTicor Title Instant Closing Protection Letter
    Ticor Title is proud to offer a system by which we provide Closing Protection Letters (CPLs) in under one minute for our Lender Clients, providing convenience and a speedy response 24/7. When a Lender completes the CPL request form via MyTicor.com, a response via email with the completed CPL will be delivered immediately and the transaction in our system will be updated regardless of the day of the week or the time of day.
    Request CPLs instantly at: MyTicor.com
  2. Title & Escrow Rates Provided Instantly and Accurately
    For the protection of consumers, today’s transactions allow very little tolerance for variances in Title & Escrow fees disclosed on a Loan Estimate. When you take into account that title and escrow fees are filed and calculated differently in various counties across the United States, determining accurate fees for a Loan Estimate or GFE may become daunting. And don’t forget the various sales tax rates that need to be accounted for across the state of Washington.

    TicorRates.com Title & Escrow Calculator

    Click to view TicorRates.com Title & Escrow Calculator

    Visit TicorRates.com for instant rates.

    In addition, for transactions in which an owner’s policy will be purchased, the CFPB rule prescribes special mathematical calculations for disclosure of the owner’s and lender’s title insurance premiums, which may require receipt of rates for both a stand-alone and simultaneously-issued lender’s policy, as well as the owner’s policy rate. Suddenly, the little task of getting a quote has become a high-stakes math project.

    The Ticor Title rate calculator takes all the aforementioned variables into account and provides a means of accessing accurate fees instantly any time, any day. The result is streamlined workflows for our clients and the peace of mind and confidence that comes with accurate numbers.

    Try the Ticor Title Calculator today at http://TicorRates.com

New! Real Estate Buyer & Seller Guide

Real Estate Buyer Seller Resource Guide

Buyer and Seller Guide to Title & Escrow

Click for eBooklet

We are pleased to announce the availability of Ticor Title’s comprehensive Buyer/Seller guide in PDF, eBook, and Print Formats. This guide is designed to provide meaningful information and answer commonly asked questions that home buyers and sellers have throughout a real estate transaction.

Our goal with the Buyer/Seller Guide is to improve the overall experience of buyers and sellers by providing education and insights that demystify Title Insurance, Escrow, the CFPB, Taxes and more. This guide is a useful tool in setting proper expectations for the complex process of buying and selling a home.

How to Get the Buyer & Seller Guide

For your convenience, there are three ways to access the guide:

Buyer & Seller Guide Available Formats
Formats & How to Access
Downloadable PDF Download the Buyer & Seller Guide in PDF format for viewing, sharing, and local print. Download here: Buyer and Seller Guide to Title & Escrow
eBooklet eBooklet format presents well on tablets, smart-phones, and desktops and provides a means of linking to and sharing individual pages or sections of the document. Click here to view the Buyer & Seller Guide in eBook format.
Print The Buyer & Seller Guide is available in a high-quality print format upon request. Please contact your Ticor Title Sales Executive to reserve yours today.

The guide provides insights and information on the following:

Click any item below to view.

TITLE

The Title Insurance Value Proposition: 10 Reasons
What is Title? – FAQ
Why You Need Title Insurance – 21 Reasons
Life of a Title Search
Title Policy Comparison Chart
Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance
Homeowner’s Policy Additional Benefits
What is the Title Commitment?
5 Common Ways To Hold Title
ID Affidavit – Why is it Needed?
Vesting: Common Ways of Holding Title

ESCROW & TAXES

Escrow: FAQ
The Escrow Process
The Life of an Escrow
Opening Escrow
Red Flags in the Escrow / Title Process
Other Parties to an Escrow Transaction
The Loan Process
PMI Private Mortgage Insurance – FAQ

Taxes
PATH Act
Loan FAQ
What is Payoff
Property Tax – Annual Calendar
Closing Costs: What Buyers & Sellers Typically Pay For

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
What is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? (CFPB)
Will The New CFPB Rule Delay My Closing?
Purchase Title / Escrow Order Workflow
The New Closing Disclosure Explained

TERMS

Glossary of Terms

Minors in Title to Real Estate

Minors in Title to Real Estate

 

Minors in Title to Real Estate

There are times when a minor is in title. Maybe the deed from Mom & Dad says “Susan B. Jones, a minor.” Or, when she shows up to sign papers, the Realtor® notices the nanny who brought her in. Of course, a child can inherit property. The parents never intended for the child to own it so soon, but it happens.

Are there problems with minors in title?

Custodian

Washington has adopted the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This is the most practical way for minors to “own” property. There is no document or agreement. The statute deals with the responsibility of the custodian to the child. Otherwise, you can have a…

Trust

A trust can be set up for a minor, either separately or by language in a will. The trustee can also transfer property to a custodian (who can even be the trustee) if the trust permits it. But if there is no trust or custodianship, you need a…

Guardian

A guardianship is often what happens when both parents are deceased without making provisions for how a minor child can deal with property. It’s not absolutely necessary unless real property must be sold or mortgaged, but a court must approve any real estate transaction.

Most of us know there may be a problem, but what is it, exactly? Can little Suzie even be in title? Can she convey or mortgage the property? How?

Well, yes a minor can be in title, and it happens all the time. That’s not the problem – if she doesn’t want (or need) to sell or mortgage the property now, she will eventually be old enough to do something with it.

But until Suzie reaches the legal age of majority, she is under a type of “disability” because she lacks the capacity to enter in to binding contracts. If she signs title away when she is 17, she can disavow it when she reaches the age of majority and for some time thereafter.

What if a minor needs to sell or mortgage the property?

The only way for Suzie to sell or take out a mortgage is for someone to go to court, open a guardianship, appoint a guardian, get a court order authorizing the transaction, and have the guardian execute the deed or mortgage. Also, if a guardian has been appointed in another state, an ancillary court proceeding will be needed because the foreign court does not have jurisdiction in Washington.

All this can be expensive and time consuming and pretty onerous if the transaction has to happen now. But, there is no alternative – the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak. The conveyance to Suzie (or her inheritance) can’t be undone.

Other ways for a minor to own real estate

Download

Download a printable version of this article. CLick the following link: Minors in title to real estateMinors to Title in Real Estate

There are other more practical ways to deal with children owning real estate.  One is a trust, where title is conveyed to the trustee of the trust, or the trust is set up in a probate. In that case, the title company will need to see the trust document or the will.

A custodianship pursuant to RCW 11.114 is a simple alternative. In that case, title is conveyed to an adult of legal age: “John Paul Jones, as custodian for Susan B. Jones, under the Washington Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.” The statute provides for only one custodian per child per deed, and a trust company can be named as well, if the trust permits it. It used to be called the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and you might see this recital in a deed coming from another state. A deed can be accepted from a custodian in any state, which need only recite the adult custodian, the custodianship and the name of the minor.

When title is vested in a custodian, title insurers do not need to call for any proof of authority or documentation. This is an advantage of a custodianship over a guardianship for all concerned. Acknowledgments for a custodian would be for the adult individual, because there is no documentation to present to the notary, while a guardian would use the representative capacity (for a fiduciary) form.

Of course, during the custodianship the adult has a fiduciary responsibility to the minor, and can’t dispose of or use the assets for personal gain. The money from a sale of a house would still belong to the minor. But third parties, including title companies, don’t need to question where the money will end up.

What happens when the minor reaches legal age?

Once the minor reaches 18, 21 or in some cases 25 years of age (it all depends on the circumstances of the transfer), the custodian is to convey the property to the minor. But as an adult she can deal with the property in her own name. With a guardianship, the court action needs to be closed, and the property distributed to the minor.  A custodianship is a convenient way for a minor to hold title, but there can be estate planning and taxation ramifications when children own real estate. An attorney should always be consulted if a minor is or will be in title.

Questions or comments?  Please share below!

What is a Land Contract?

What is a Land Contract

What is a land contract

Seller Finances the Purchase

A land contract is an installment contract in which the seller finances the purchase. The seller maintains the deed until satisfaction. It is comparable to owner financing. The buyer gives the seller a down payment and the seller acts as a bank; financing the balance of the purchase or sale price.

The Interest Rate is Negotiated by the Parties

The interest rate is negotiated and set by the parties involved. Land contracts can be created on or used on most types of property such as residential, land only, mobile home with land, commercial, mixed use.

During the Course of a Land Contract

The buyer has possession of and equitable title to the property while the seller holds legal title. If desired, the buyer may assign and convey his/her (buyer’s) interest in this contract or any part thereof, provided, however, that such assignment or conveyance shall not impair the seller’s security in the Premises. Once the contract is in effect and for the duration thereof, the buyer will be responsible for all taxes and assessments.

The seller conveys legal title by way of a Statutory Warranty Fulfillment Deed to the buyer when the contract is paid in full and all terms are fulfilled free and clear of any liens or encumbrances other than taxes and assessments for the current year.

What is a Title Commitment

What is a Title Insurance Commitment

What is a Title Insurance Commitment

Be Aware Early of Matters & Exceptions to Coverage

A Title Commitment provides a list of the matters which will be shown as exceptions to coverage in a designated policy or policies of title insurance, if issued concurrently, covering a particular state or interest in land. It is designated to provide a preliminary response to an application for title insurance and is intended to facilitate the issuance of the designated policy or policies.

Since these exceptions may point to potential problems with an intended purchase,
it is important for all parties to review the report once it is received.

Title Commitment

Corefact ProofDownload a PDF of this article here
The Ticor Title Title Commitment is an offer to issue a policy of title insurance covering a particular estate or interest in land subject to stated exceptions.

It is normally prepared after application (order) for such policy(ies) of title insurance on behalf of the principals to a real property transaction. The Title Commitment states on its face that it is made solely to facilitate the subsequent issuance of a title insurance policy and that the insurer assumes no liability for errors in the report. Accordingly, any claim arising from a defect in title must be made under the title policy and not the Title Commitment.

If a title policy is not contemplated, a Title Commitment should not be ordered. Instead, consideration should be given to requesting a Subdivision Guarantee Report or other similar title product.

After a title order has been placed, matters relative to the title policy coverage on the subject property are assembled in a title search package and examined by skilled technicians. This is when the Title Commitment is prepared and sent to the customer. The report contains relevant information so that the parties to the transaction will become aware of matters which will not be insured against by the title company.

This report is issued before the title policy, hence the name Title Commitment.

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