Title insurance gives you peace of mind regarding your most valuable asset – your home. It protects against adverse, unknown or undisclosed claims or interests that could result in financial hardship or loss of ownership. Obviously, selecting the right title insurance company is extremely important.
As the homebuyer, you can choose which title insurer you use. When working with your real estate agent or lender, you should take the time to find a title insurance company that is experienced, reactive and has a solid reputation for prompt and fair claims-handling practices, as well as financial security.
Key components to consider in finding the right tile insurer:
The Company — There are a number of “in house” or “joint venture” title companies that may work exclusively with one real estate company, one lender or one homebuilder. While this obviously leads to higher efficiency within the parent company, it also creates the opportunity for price gauging. Often a consumer will pay higher fees to such an entity and even more so get less in service.
Services – Closing on your home at a convenient time for you? E-Recording? The importance to these items is necessary as convenience is key and electronic recording guarantees that your deed will be recorded immediately, avoiding any potential discrepancies or potential fraud by past owners.
Fees – Title insurance fees in most states are regulated by the State Department of Insurance. However, ancillary fees charged by title companies can create a significant difference from one company to the next. In addition to title and endorsement fees, there are recording, reconveyance, release tracking, courier, overnight delivery fees, wire fees, electronic document fees, mobile notary fees, document prep fees, etc. Other work fees are also not uncommon. Shopping around can save you a considerable amount of money in ancillary fees.
Communication – One of the biggest issues in the industry is lack of communication. In a business that requires communication, it’s surprising how many people struggle doing so. How does your title agent communicate? By telephone, email, text, fax, face to face? It doesn’t really help to be working with someone that only communicates via phone if you prefer to speak with them in person or by email.
Experience – Has the title agent worked in the industry for many years or is new to the game? Is the title agent an Attorney Title Company or a non-attorney title company? Some inexperienced title agents or non-attorney based firms may not be well versed in all forms of real estate transactions. Do they have one specialty and if so, is it the specialty you need?
Financial Strength – First of all, research the company’s rating. Secondly, the title company is going to essentially place the transaction with an actual insurer and the agent is likely just an agent for the insurer. While many title companies have been around for decades, that’s not always the case. The purpose of a title company is to facilitate your escrow and provide title insurance for your most valuable asset. But will the underlying title insurer be around in a few years to pay a claim that an inept escrow officer with no experience and poor communication skills worked on? Be diligent in checking this out!
Choosing the right title insurance company is essential to a successful closing. Many things can go wrong in a real estate transaction, so it is vital that your title company be well versed in all aspects of the closing process.