Buying a Home? Should You Pick Your Own Title Insurance Policy?

The closing process is hectic. Especially for first-timers. Many questions may go unasked, simply because the home buyer isn’t aware they are issues. Here are three such questions:

What is title insurance? Should I have it? If so, how do I buy it?

Closing day for a home purchase is precisely when the buyer has a chance to buy an owner’s title policy. Given how frenzied life can get when it’s time to close on a home, it’s worth knowing about this in advance.

Continue reading “Buying a Home? Should You Pick Your Own Title Insurance Policy?”

Home Buyers, Cover Your Assets: Choosing Between Standard and Extended Title Insurance

Image of a nice newer house with a fantastic stone chimney . Captioned: Choosing Between Standard and Extended Title Insurance

People have a chance to buy title insurance when they buy homes. Homeowners might give these policies little thought until they need them. And yet, lenders focus pointedly on the matter. Get a mortgage, and you get a lender’s title insurance policy. Some people assume the lender’s coverage is enough. As we’ll explain here, it’s probably not.

But there’s a further question. If an owner’s title policy is so important to add, what level of coverage should the buyer consider? Is extended coverage better than the standard policy?

We’ll go through these questions in order.

Continue reading “Home Buyers, Cover Your Assets: Choosing Between Standard and Extended Title Insurance”

An Opinion of Title: What Home Buyers Should Know

Image of reading glasses laying on paperwork. Captioned: An Opinion of Title: What Home Buyers Should Know

We all need to know if anything could compromise our ownership of property we buy. We rely on title companies to affirm that the seller has the rights to sell. To affirm this, the title company in turn relies on a legal expert’s opinion of the integrity of the deed — an opinion of title. This document offers clarity and confidence that the seller has full rights in the property, and the ability to transfer it. Then, the title company can back that guarantee with title insurance.

In this article, we look at these two sets of assurances: the opinion of title and title insurance — and their differences.

Continue reading “An Opinion of Title: What Home Buyers Should Know”

Unexpected Real Estate Title Defects: How to File a Claim With the Insurance Company

Image of a dirt path through the woods leading to a greenhouse.

Much is said on the role of title insurance in protecting protect the buyer from unknown liens, easement holders, or a prior owners’ heirs who claim an interest in the buyer’s new home. 

Title insurance covers the policy holder against loss related to these various defects in title. Other examples of title defects include undisclosed restrictive covenants on the property, documents recorded with mistakes, and fraudulent or otherwise invalid transactions in the chain of title. A good title insurance policy protects the policy holder against property devaluation stemming from such problems if they arose during a previous ownership, unbeknownst to the buyer. The role of the title insurer is to defend the policy holder against legal challenges to the title, and to pay the policy holder for covered losses in value.

So far, so good.

But what happens if there is a title defect, and the owner actually has to use the title insurance? 

Continue reading “Unexpected Real Estate Title Defects: How to File a Claim With the Insurance Company”

Real Estate Title Insurance: A Brief Explanation

Image of a house with a blue sky background. Captioned: Real Estate Title Insurance, A Brief Explanation.

Title insurance emerged more than a century ago. It had a purpose: to stop swindlers from cheating buyers, by ascertaining that land was, in fact, owned by the person selling it.

Since then, it has grown into a multi-billion-dollar business. 

And while today’s title insurance industry ostensibly protects homeowners from defects in their deeds, some believe it has been rendered practically obsolete in the digital age. Today, a record search can be done for less than a tenth of the prevailing rate of title insurance—which can exceed $2000, depending on the home’s price and the state in which the property sale occurs. 

Continue reading “Real Estate Title Insurance: A Brief Explanation”

Quit Claim Deeds and Continuation of Title Insurance

Provided by Matthew A. Quick, Esq., an attorney licensed in the state of Illinois.

Title insurance coverage is dictated by the terms of the policy issued by the title insurance company. In most, if not all, policies for title insurance there is a provision for “Continuation of Coverage” or “Continuation of Insurance.” Typically, this provision provides that the insurance will continue only so long as the insured holds an interest in the land or has liability by reason of warranties given in any transfer of the title.

Continue reading “Quit Claim Deeds and Continuation of Title Insurance”