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What Every Realtor Should Know About Title Insurance

October 8 in Blog by admin No Comments

Make sure your clients are protected!

The process of buying a home is complicated. Consumers can become confused and frustrated with the mounds of paperwork and documents to sign. Fees show up at closing that can sometimes surprise the buyer.

Title insurance is one of those charges little understood by homebuyers, who often see it as just another fee they have to pay to buy a home. As an important advisor to your clients, you can help them understand the value that title insurance provides, and the dangers that can be incurred without it.

Title insurance protects against problems affecting the title to a home, which is likely your client’s most valuable asset. Homebuyers are protected from ownership issues by purchasing an Owner’s Policy of title insurance (for a full list of policies and comparisons- click here), which ensures that the title to their property is clear of liens or encumbrances, such as unpaid mortgages, property taxes or child support liens, to name a few. Additionally, title professionals will look for anything that could limit the use of the property such as utility easements. When a title professional finds an issue, they work to resolve it– typically without you even knowing about it.

The majority of the one-time fee paid for an Owner’s Policy covers the cost for professionals with local expertise to discover, identify and repair issues caused by title issues that occurred in the past. Because of these preventive measures, title insurance is fundamentally different from other forms of insurance, which charge annual premiums to provide insurance protection for future events. This also means that title insurance has lower loss rates than other forms of insurance. In title insurance, a claim is serious, and a loss means your client’s homeownership is threatened. Low loss rates are good for consumers. The curative work performed by title agents (to contact your TSA title department click here) minimizes the fear, disruption and distress that title claims have on homeowners. An Owner’s Policy provides protection for as long as they or their heirs own the property. Having an Owner’s Policy means that the cost of defense and legal fees are paid by the title insurer for the homeowner.

Here’s an example of how an Owner’s Policy can protect a homeowner. Say your client recently purchased a new home from a builder. Unfortunately, the builder failed to pay the roofer. Wanting to be paid, the roofer filed a lien against the property. Without a title search alerting your client to this lien, and an Owner’s Policy protecting them, your client would become responsible for paying this debt—meaning they’d be paying the roofer instead of purchasing new living room furniture.

When purchasing real estate, consumers are free to select their own title professional or company. You can also make a recommendation or encourage consumers to ask friends and neighbors if they were happy with the title company they worked with and get a referral. Also suggest to your clients that they utilize a company that is part of its state’s title association or the American Land Title Association. If they are members, they are likely keeping abreast of state and federal trends and requirements.

Title insurance rates are regulated by state insurance departments. In addition, title insurance companies are regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Keep in mind that title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs. Who pays for the Owner’s Policy varies from state to state and sometimes even within a state.

Together, Realtors, land title insurance professionals and other stakeholders involved in the real estate transaction can protect consumers and provide them with a better experience to the real estate closing process.

For more information about title insurance your clients can go to our website at www.titlesecurity.com or www.homeclosing101.org.

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The Cost of Title Insurance IS Worth the Investment!

September 15 in Blog by admin No Comments

The Cost of Title Insurance IS Worth the Investment ~ Food for Thought

Fewer claims do not equate with a policy’s value

Whenever there’s an article in the news about title insurance, all too frequently there is criticism about the cost. This perception occurs because there are fewer claims with title insurance compared to other forms of insurance. The higher percentage of claims an insurance company pays should not be equated with the value and cost of the policy. This is especially true with title insurance.

Most types of insurance cover incidents that may occur in the future, which is the case with health, life, auto and homeowner’s insurance. The cost of these policies is based on the insurers’ estimation of how much they will likely pay out in claims over a given period, plus administrative costs and a reasonable profit. The volume of claims is typically high with these types of insurance.
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Title insurance, on the other hand, is based on loss prevention, which means that a much larger percentage of the premium dollar is spent preventing title problems from occurring. These upfront costs cover searching, identifying and eliminating risks that could result in a future claim.

A typical title search involves searching the public records, including visits to the offices of recorders or registers of deeds, clerks of courts and other officials, and the company’s own title plant. Title professionals look for such things as second or third mortgages, judgments, liens, street and sewer system assessments, special taxes and levies, and numerous other matters. No other line of insurance does this level of due diligence before issuing a policy.

Over the long term, title insurers pay fewer claims than other insurers, but their operating expenses are much higher because of these upfront costs. To compare, operating expenses for property and casualty companies, which issue auto and homeowners insurance, is less than 30 percent of revenues. The expense ratio for title insurers averages 90 percent.

Another reason some mistakenly believe that title insurance costs are high is because they don’t fully understand its value. Title insurance protects the single largest financial investment most people make. One out of every four residential real estate transactions has an issue with the title, which is usually resolved by title professionals before the buyer closes.

When there is a claim, it is often due to a title defect that was undetected during the title search. The most common problems resulting in title claims are the result of fraud and forgery. And, when there is a loss, it is usually significant—sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance, which can be obtained in addition to a Loan Policy, remains in effect for as long as the policyholder (or their heirs) owns the property that is insured. A claim could actually be filed 50 or 100 years after the policy was issued. And, an Owner’s Policy covers legal expenses involved in defending the title on behalf of the homeowner.

The cost for title insurance is a one-time fee, as opposed to other lines of insurance that charge a monthly, quarterly or annual premium over the life of the policy. When you consider the size of the asset being protected, title insurance is probably the best value among the majority of costs associated with closing on a new home.

The American Land Title Association helps educate consumers about title insurance so that they can better understand their choices and make informed decisions. Homebuyers, regulators and legislators are encouraged to check out the website, www.homeclosing101.org, to learn more about title insurance and the closing process.

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Escrow Tip: Quick Close Transactions

September 4 in Blog by admin No Comments

Quick Close Transactions

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Escrow Tip: Transaction Dates and Terms

July 28 in Blog by admin No Comments

When it comes to dates and terms of an escrow transaction, it is common to misunderstand the terms used when discussing the steps in an escrow. The escrow closing occurs between the time a seller accepts the purchase agreement and the buyer gets the keys to the new home. Such terms as the date of signing, funding, closing of escrow, recording, and disbursement are often used throughout the process of an escrow transaction. Below are the terms and their intended meanings.

Signing is the date all parties sign all of the documents. Generally, the Sellers and Buyers sign at different times, so more than one signing date may apply.

Funding is the date the lender sends loan proceeds to escrow or when the Buyers deliver good funds if they are paying cash for the transaction.

Closing of escrow (often abbreviated as COE) is the date agreed to in the written contract between the Seller and Buyer or any extension or amendments made thereafter.

Recording is the date a transaction is recorded with the county to transfer the real property from the Sellers to the Buyers. The deed is recorded along with any deed of trust or lien placed on the property, for the benefit of the lender which has loaned money to the Buyer for the purchase of the property.

Disbursement of funds occurs once all necessary documents have been recorded.

Many times several of the dates occur in quick succession of each other. If the Buyers are being financed by a lender, escrow will receive the loan documents, arrange for the parties to come in and sign all closing and loan documents, submit the signed documents to the lender for approval, receive the funds, obtain funding approval from the lender to record, and disburse the funds to the Seller and any other parties to be paid. The ultimate goal is for the closing to occur within the time period set and agreed to by the contract entered into by the Buyer and Seller. Contact your Escrow Officer at Title Security Agency for assistance in determining the process for your particular transaction. You can find a list and their contact information by clicking the following link: Escrow Directory

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Merger Complete

June 4 in Blog by admin No Comments

June 1 2014 Announcement

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Escrow Tip: Opening Escrow – Upfront Information

May 12 in Blog by admin No Comments

Good customer service is the lifeblood of our industry. Good customer service is reflected in the number of repeat customers a company has. The essence of all good customer service is to form relationships with customers and to be effective in communicating and receiving information to and from everyone involved. Here at Title Security Agency we strive to have great relationships with our customers, both new and repeating!

We have found that we are able to offer exceptional customer service more readily if we have as much information about the customer up front upon opening of a transaction. The more information we get up front, all the better! In our business we are often dealing with people and entities, some of whom may have the same last names. Having our customers supply us with the full legal name and marital status of the parties is very helpful. When dealing with a seller that is an entity, the full legal name of the entity along with the type of entity and where it may be filed or incorporated is a great deal of help. When researching a property our company uses the parties information to conduct the most thorough search and to both eliminate and incorporate requirements in our title commitments. The more information we have relative to the entities or persons, the greater accuracy there will be in the title commitments that are issued and the subsequent documents that all parties prepare for the closing of the transaction.

Including the email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers for all parties to the transaction affords everyone involved in the transaction the benefit of prompt communication. Prompt communication during a real estate transaction is essential, one can never have too many means by which to reach the parties.

Any time you execute a contract check it over and see if your contract contains:

  1. Full names of parties/entities – including marital status or entity information;
  2. Email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses of all parties to the contract;
  3. Legible information – whenever possible please print or if available use a computer and type in all information.
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Press Release: Title Security Agency forms Joint Venture with First American Title

April 4 in Blog by admin No Comments

From the desk of Vivian Boggie, Executive Vice President & COO:

I am excited to announce today that Title Security Agency has agreed to form a joint venture with First American Title Company, with the transaction expecting to close by May 1, 2014. Title Security Agency’s wholly owned subsidiary, Landmark Title Assurance Agency – Tucson Division, will also become part of the joint venture.

The new company will be called Title Security Agency, LLC, and we will now be part of one locally owned and managed company that will serve customers participating in all types of residential and commercial real estate transactions in Tucson, Green Valley and Casa Grande. The new company will offer you a stronger leadership team, 170 talented employees, 20 office locations, greater financial strength, and more advanced tools and technologies.

I will serve as President and CEO of Title Security Agency. You can expect business to continue as usual, with even more benefits that we can now offer you, our valued customer. Our team and I look forward to working with you for many years to come.

Bruce Jacobs will serve as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Title Security Agency, LLC

If you have any questions about our new company, please let me know.

Vivian Boggie
Executive Vice President & COO
Office: (520) 885-1600
Direct: (520) 618-7412
Fax: (520) 258-7640

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Escrow Tip: International Funds

April 2 in Blog by admin No Comments

International Funds

When dealing with an international customer, they should consult with their Title Security Agency escrow officer as to the acceptance of funds via personal check or outgoing wire procedures due to our NEW company policy.

Incoming wires are always accepted, this NEW Title Security Agency policy is only involving outgoing wires, and incoming personal checks, cashier’s checks & money orders – that are subject to clearing by the international bank and can take up to 8 weeks for clearing

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Escrow Tip: Why does my refinance need Title Insurance

March 4 in Blog by admin No Comments

Why does my refinance need Title Insurance?

When you refinance, you still keep your Owner’s Policy from your purchase, but Lenders will require a new title search and Loan Policy to protect their lien holder position in the property.

Even if your home was recently purchased, there are still issues that could arise with the title due to mechanics liens, unpaid judgments, or tax liens. Perhaps easements have recently been created. All of these items may affect the use of the property, or otherwise “encumber” the title.

Whether you are purchasing a new or existing home, or refinancing, title insurance provides an underwriting service to mortgage lenders to ensure the borrower has clear ownership rights to the property, free and clear of any other claims to ownership. Strong underwriting protects consumers, and title insurance fulfills a key part of this due diligence.

Title Security Agency of Arizona is here to assist you and your lender whenever title insurance is needed.

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Escrow Tip: What information is found in the Title Commitment?

February 25 in Blog by admin No Comments

What information is found in the Title Commitment?

Upon opening escrow and the completion of the title search, you will receive a Commitment for Title Insurance, and copies of those matters as disclosed in Schedule B Section 2-Exceptions
(NOTE: If you do not receive these documents with the Commitment for Title Insurance, request them from your Escrow Officer).

The Commitment for Title Insurance has three schedules: Schedule A and Schedule B Section 1-Requirements and Schedule B Section 2-Exceptions. Below is a brief description of some of the matters reflected in the referenced schedules.

Schedule A

  • Effective Date of Commitment. (The date through which the records of the County Recorder have been searched.)
  • Proposed Owners Policy to be issued, the amount of coverage (sales price) and the proposed insured (Buyer).
  •  Proposed Loan Policy (if applicable) to be issued, the amount of coverage (loan amount) and the proposed insured (Lender).
  •  Type of Interest to be insured in subject property (In most cases this will be Fee).
  •  Legal Description of the property to be insured.

 

Schedule B Section 1-Requirements

  •  Payment of delinquent real and personal property taxes, if any.
  •  Payment of Homeowners Association transfer fees and charges.
  •  Payoff and recordation of a release of any loans, judgments and/or liens affecting title to the subject property.
  •  Recordation of a release of any previously paid liens that have not yet been released of record.
  •  Recordation of corrective documents as may be determined through the examination of the title.
  •  Request for authority documents of a legal entity that may be involved in the transaction (i.e corporate resolution, LLC operating agreement, trust agreement).
  •  Recordation of document(s) transferring title to buyer. (Deed)
  •  Recordation of lenders security document. (Deed of Trust)

Schedule B Section 2-Exceptions
The matters reflected in this section affect the title to the real property. You will take title “Subject To”  these matters of record (i.e. easements, right of ways, covenants, conditions and restrictions, homeowners association, taxing districts, well agreements, road maintenance agreements).

You should review these documents with your real estate agent and/or legal advisor.

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Escrow Tip: The Plat Map

February 24 in Blog by admin No Comments

THE PLAT MAP
Viewing the Subdivision Plat Map for the subject purchase property is essential due diligence for every buyer and their agent. Information found on a plat map cover sheet and final plat can include:

· Lot Dimensions

· Private and public utility easements

· “No access” easements

· Setbacks

· Designated water provider

· Zoning

· Private and public streets

· Recorder’s sequence #’s for additional research documents like CC&Rs and permits

Many of the Title Commitment “Schedule B” items (the items the buyer is taking “Subject to”) may be found in the Dedication, the General Notes, and the Keynotes/Legend) sections of the subdivision Plat Map.

The plat map is included with the Title Commitment, and copies can also be obtained from our Property Research Department.

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