Homebuyer Title Insurance FAQs

Buying a home is a big decision and likely the largest investment most of us will ever make. Owner’s title insurance helps you buy with confidence because it’s the smart way to protect your property rights. To help you understand how owner’s title insurance works, here are answers to common questions:

What is title?

Title is your right to own or use your property. Title also establishes any limitations on those rights.

What is a title search?

A title search is an early step in the homebuying process to uncover issues that could limit your rights to the property. If a title issue is discovered, most often your title professional will take care of it without you even knowing. After the title search is complete, the title company can provide a title insurance policy.

What is title insurance?

If you’re buying a home, title insurance is a policy that protects your investment and property rights.

There are two different types of title insurance: an owner’s policy and a lender’s policy.

  1. An owner’s policy is the best way to protect your property rights. Either the buyer or seller may pay for this policy. Ask your title professional how it’s handled in your area.
  2. A lender’s policy is usually required by the lender and only protects the lender’s financial interests. The buyer typically pays for this policy, but that varies depending on geography. Ask your title professional how it’s handled in your area.

Why should I purchase owner’s title insurance?

Owner’s title insurance protects your investment in your property from certain future legal claims regarding ownership of your property. For a one-time fee, you and your heirs receive coverage for as long as you own your home. The owner’s policy also covers potential legal fees and court costs for settling claims covered by your policy.

What does owner’s title insurance cover?

Sometimes undiscoverable defects can come up after the title search. Under an owner’s title insurance policy, you are protected against certain undiscovered errors in the title.

Title issues include unknown:

  • Outstanding mortgages and judgments, or a lien against the property because the seller has not paid his taxes
  • Pending legal action against the property that could affect you
  • Unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership of the property

Unforeseeable title claims include:

  • Forgery: making a false document
    • For example, the seller misrepresents the identity of the person who sold the property.
  • Fraud: deception to achieve unfair gain
    • For example, someone steals your identity and either sells your house without your knowledge or consent, or takes out a second mortgage on the property and walks away with the money.
  • Clerical error: inconsistent paperwork and historical records
    • For example, an unforeseeable discrepancy in the property or fence line can cause confusion in ownership rights.

What does owner’s title insurance cost?

The one-time payment for owner’s title insurance is low relative to the value of your home. A typical 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.

What happens at closing?

Closing is the final step in executing the home buying transaction. It is the process that allows the transfer of ownership to occur. Upon completion of the closing process, you get the keys to your home!

Where can I get more information?

The American Land Title Association helps educate homebuyers like you about title insurance so you can protect your property rights. Check out www.homeclosing101.org to learn more about title insurance and the home closing process.

You can also connect with your local Alliance office where our friendly professionals are ready to help answer your questions.

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Is Downsizing The Right Move?

With the economy improving and the real estate market heating up, more young people are getting good paying jobs and moving out of the family home. It also means that it could be a good time for those parents to look at downsizing. Assisting your clients in making an informed decision can help you build trust and figure out if it really is the right move for them — saving everyone valuable time.

Check out this article from CNBC on how to decide if downsizing is the right choice:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/09/downsizing-your-home-how-to-determine-if-a-smaller-house-is-the-right-move.html

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Rate Hikes & Millennial Homebuyers

It’s no secret that interest rates are increasing, but that trend isn’t stopping millennials from buying. That’s pretty important to know because millennials are the largest group of homebuyers in the country! Check out this article from MReport on what types of loans millennials prefer and some other important figures:

http://themreport.com/daily-dose/04-04-2018/rate-hikes-and-millennial-homebuyers

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4 Reasons Homeowner’s Insurance Gets Dropped

Similar to a title insurance policy, homeowner’s insurance is extremely important. Unfortunately, insurance companies can drop your coverage for a number of reasons. Take a look at this article from Realtor.com for four common reasons why homeowner’s insurance companies can drop you from coverage:

https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-insurance-company-drop-coverage/

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10 Ways To Boost Home Value

A potentially hot home sale season is coming up as we leap into spring. We can all agree that you hope to make a return on your investment when you sell a property, so why not invest in some worthwhile upgrades to boost your home’s value? Check out this article from This Old House on 10 ways to boost house value:

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/brokers-tell-all-10-ways-to-boost-house-value

For more ways to increase your home’s value, contact your local Alliance office.

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Tips For A Smooth Transaction

At Alliance Title, we take pride in providing the best overall closing experience for our agents, lenders and customers. Here are some useful steps to help make your next transaction as smooth as possible:

Provide the following to your escrow team:

  • The completed and signed Earnest Money Agreement (EMA)
  • All addendums to the EMA
  • A commission verification form
  • Phone numbers, email addresses and/or fax numbers for your clients and/or the lender they are using
  • Any additional insight or information regarding your customer(s) that may help make the process go smoothly the day of closing, such as your customer(s) need for a translator; they are visually, audibly, or physically impaired; require separate signings due to an unamicable divorce scenario, etc.
  • Homeowners’ association contact information

Other suggestions:

  • Carefully review the title commitment. Should you have questions or concerns regarding the document, contact your escrow team right away
  • Encourage the seller to:
  • Provide payoff authorizations promptly
  • Review their state withholding requirements with their accountant (if applicable)
  • Encourage the buyer to:
    • Shop for the best homeowner’s insurance rates and options promptly
    • Notify your escrow team immediately should an issue or problem arise before the closing date

Always remember that while we will do everything we can to ensure that your customers have the best overall closing experience with Alliance Title. Your escrow team is a neutral third party and cannot represent the buyer or seller or negotiate on their behalf.

Check out our Client Resource Guide or connect with your local Alliance Title representative for our menu of services, checklists and much more!

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Why You Should Work With A Buyer Agent

Since buying a home is one of the largest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, there’s a lot on the line. You need the professional expertise of a buyer agent to help you navigate the complex world of real estate.

Here are just a few advantages of working with a buyer agent:

  • It’s free to the buyer!
    • A buyer agent’s commission is paid by the seller in a residential real estate sale.
  • You’ll have a trusted advisor and advocate through the buying process
    • Buyer agents represent you and your best interests in a transaction, making them loyal to you. A buyer agent can be counted on being accountable for the money they handle in the transaction and to keep your info confidential.
  • Save time and minimize stress
    • Your agent will work hard to research and show you all of the properties that fit your needs. They’ll also negotiate the best price, handle the paperwork and attend your closing to ensure your interests are protected.

When you’re ready to buy a home, choose Alliance for your title and escrow services!

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What Every Agent Should Know About Title Insurance

MAKE SURE ALL YOUR CLIENTS ARE PROTECTED

As an agent, you know that buying a home can be overwhelming for your clients. Homebuyers can feel confused and frustrated by the mounds of paperwork they have to sign and closing costs can be a surprise.

Owner’s title insurance is one of those items often misunderstood by homebuyers at closing, yet its value is immense. As a trusted advisor to your clients, you’re in a position to help homebuyers understand the benefit of owner’s title insurance and the dangers that can happen without it.

WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?

Owner’s title insurance is a policy that protects homebuyer’s property rights. For the same reasons the bank requires a lender’s insurance policy, the homebuyer obtains owner’s title insurance to protect against possible claims against the title.

HOW IT PROTECTS

Say, for example, your client just bought a home and there was an HOA lien previously filed against the property that wasn’t paid through closing. Wanting to be paid, the HOA contacts your client for payment. Without a title insurance policy, your client could be responsible for paying this existing debt.

This is just one example of how owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers from various financial risks.

There are extended and expanded policies as well as endorsements available to homebuyers at minimal incremental costs that provide additional coverage. These are often purchased for protection and peace of mind in situations that involve new construction, encroachments or other potential non-record matters.

ENDURING VALUE

The good news is that owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers financially, as long as they own their home. For a low, one-time fee, homebuyers can rest assured, knowing they’re protected against possible debts or claims to their property.

Get in touch with your local Alliance Title rep to learn how we can help protect your clients with owner’s title insurance.

For informational purposes only. Source: American Land Title Association

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3-Year Low: Pending Home Sales

The housing market is in ‘crisis’ due to inventory issues according to this article from Realtor.com referencing the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) findings. Pending home sales fell 4.7% to 104.6, which is the lowest  reading since October 2014. For more information regarding the most recent NAR report, have a look here:

https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/pending-home-sales-tumble-3-year-low-housing-crisis-worsens/

#alliancetitle #realestate #markettrends #title #escrow

Seven Tips for Real Estate Social Media Marketing

Social media is a free tool in your marketing mix that can be hugely beneficial to your business with each platform having its advantages and specific fit. Enhancing the way you use each one isn’t as complicated as you think either. Take a look at this article from Forbes.com for seven tips on each platform’s best use for real estate marketing and more:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2017/10/03/seven-social-media-marketing-musts-for-real-estate-agents

Connect with your local Alliance rep for more tools and ideas to help grow your business!

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