Lawyers Express Title

Residential Title Services

Residential title services encompass a range of activities and processes related to ensuring the legal ownership of a residential property. These services typically include:

  1. Title Search: This involves researching public records to trace the history of ownership of the property. It aims to identify any existing liens, judgments, or other encumbrances that may affect the title.
  2. Title Examination: A thorough examination of the title documents to verify the legal ownership of the property and to identify any potential issues that may need to be addressed.
  3. Title Insurance: Title insurance policies protect both lenders and homeowners against financial loss due to defects in the title that were not discovered during the title search or examination. There are two types of title insurance: owner’s title insurance and lender’s title insurance.
  4. Title Clearance: If any issues are found during the title search or examination, the title company works to resolve them to ensure that the title is clear and marketable.
  5. Closing Services: Title companies often facilitate the closing process by coordinating with all parties involved, including buyers, sellers, lenders, and real estate agents. They prepare the necessary documents, handle the transfer of funds, and oversee the signing of the closing documents.
  6. Recording and Documentation: After the closing, the title company ensures that all necessary documents, such as deeds, mortgages, and liens, are properly recorded with the appropriate government authorities to officially transfer ownership of the property.
  7. Escrow Services: Title companies may also provide escrow services, holding funds and documents in a neutral account until all conditions of the sale are met and the transaction can be completed.

These services help to ensure a smooth and legally sound transfer of ownership for residential properties, providing peace of mind to buyers, sellers, and lenders alike.

Title Insurance
  1. Title Abstract: Examine the title to check for any liens or claims on the property.
  2. Location Drawing: Order drawing and review the placement of any improvements.
  3. Property Taxes: Inform local or state taxing authority that property taxes have been paid and check with the water company and homeowners association to confirm all payments are current.
  4. Title Insurance: Prepare/issue both the owner’s and lender’s coverage.
  5. Closing Loan Docs: Review loan documents, complete Closing Disclosure Settlement Statement, and prepare the deed.
  6. Closing: Disperse all monies collected at settlement and pay off and release the existing mortgage on the property and prepare loan documents to be returned to the lender.
  7. Documents Recorded: Ensure all documents are properly recorded in the courthouse and procure the release of any existing liens on the property.

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Why You Need Owner’s Title Insurance:

Owner’s title insurance is a crucial safeguard for homeowners because it offers protection against potential legal and financial issues related to the title of their property. Here’s why you need it:

Continuous Coverage
Owner’s title insurance provides coverage for as long as you or your heirs own the property. This ensures that your property rights remain protected even after the purchase.

Protection from Title Discrepancies
It shields you from unexpected legal and financial problems that may arise due to title discrepancies, such as undisclosed liens, errors in public records, or unknown heirs claiming ownership.

Affordable One-time Fee
Despite its comprehensive coverage, owner’s title insurance typically involves a one-time fee, usually around 0.5% of the home’s purchase price. Considering the potential risks and costs associated with title issues, this fee is relatively modest.

Complement to Homeowners Insurance
While homeowners’ insurance is essential for protecting the structure and contents of your home from damage or loss, it doesn’t cover title-related issues. Owner’s title insurance fills this gap by focusing specifically on title risks.

Common Practice
Most home buyers in America, around 80%, opt for owner’s title insurance, highlighting its importance and widespread acceptance in real estate transactions.

Different from Loan Policy
It’s important to distinguish owner’s title insurance from a loan policy, which only protects the lender’s interests in the property. Owner’s title insurance, on the other hand, directly benefits the homeowner by safeguarding their ownership rights.
Securing owner’s title insurance gives homeowners peace of mind knowing that their investment is protected from potential title-related risks that could jeopardize their property rights and financial well-being.

Closings
A great real estate closing experience with a title company involves several key elements:

Efficient Communication
Clear and timely communication is essential throughout the closing process. A great title company ensures that all parties involved, including buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and lenders, are kept informed about the progress of the transaction, any requirements, and deadlines.

Thorough Title Search and Examination
The title company should conduct a comprehensive title search to uncover any potential issues or discrepancies related to the property’s ownership history. A thorough examination ensures that the title is clear and marketable, providing confidence to all parties involved in the transaction.

Expertise and Professionalism
A great title company employs experienced professionals who are knowledgeable about real estate laws and regulations. They should handle the closing process with professionalism, attention to detail, and a commitment to ensuring a smooth and legally compliant transaction.

Transparency and Accuracy in Documentation
The title company should prepare all closing documents accurately and transparently, ensuring that all terms and conditions are clearly outlined and understood by the parties involved. This includes the closing statement, title insurance policy, and any other relevant paperwork.

Efficient Closing Process
A great title company strives to make the closing process as efficient and convenient as possible for all parties. This may involve scheduling the closing at a convenient time and location, providing electronic signature options for documents, and promptly addressing any issues that may arise during the closing.

Attention to Detail in Fund Disbursement
The title company is responsible for disbursing funds appropriately at closing, including paying off any existing mortgages, liens, and other obligations. A great title company ensures that all funds are disbursed accurately and in accordance with the closing instructions.

Post-Closing Support
Even after the closing is complete, a great title company continues to provide support to the parties involved. This may include resolving any post-closing issues that arise, providing copies of closing documents, and assisting with the recording of the deed and other necessary paperwork.

Escrow
In a real estate transaction, escrow refers to the process where a neutral third party holds funds and documents related to the transaction until all conditions of the sale are met. Escrow serves as a safeguard for both the buyer and the seller, ensuring that each party fulfills their obligations before the transaction is finalized.
Here’s why escrow is important in a real estate transaction:

Security for the Parties
Escrow provides a secure way for the buyer to deposit earnest money and for the seller to hold the property off the market while the transaction is being finalized. Both parties can trust that their interests are protected during the process.

Facilitation of Transaction
Escrow facilitates the transfer of funds and documents between the buyer, seller, and other involved parties, such as lenders and title companies. The escrow agent ensures that all necessary steps are taken according to the terms of the purchase agreement and applicable laws.

Compliance with Contractual Obligations
Escrow ensures that both the buyer and seller adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in the purchase agreement. For example, the seller may need to make repairs or provide disclosures, while the buyer may need to secure financing or conduct inspections. Escrow ensures that these conditions are met before the transaction proceeds.

Neutral Oversight
The escrow agent acts as a neutral third party who oversees the transaction and ensures that it progresses smoothly. They do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the transaction, which helps maintain impartiality and fairness.

Protection Against Fraud
Escrow provides protection against fraudulent activities or disputes that may arise during the transaction process. By holding funds and documents in escrow, fraudulent activities such as misappropriation of funds or falsification of documents can be detected and prevented.

Peace of Mind
For both the buyer and the seller, escrow provides peace of mind knowing that the transaction is being handled by a neutral and experienced professional. It reduces the risk of misunderstandings, disputes, or delays that could jeopardize the sale.