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Learn more about title and how to utilize our software platforms in these explainer videos.
In real estate, title refers to the legal ownership of (or right to) a piece of property. These rights include right of possession, right of control, right of exclusion, right of enjoyment, and right of disposition. Title can be changed via various methods including sale of the property, a will, court decree, or law. A change in ownership is reflected in a deed and recorded in the Land Records where the property is located.
There are five common types of tenancy options:
Title insurance protects homeowners and lenders against potential undiscovered issues with the title that happened before the home was purchased. A title claim can arise at any time even after you've owned and lived on the property for years. The most common lawsuits filed against the title include back taxes, liens, and even conflicting wills.
A title insurance policy covers any defects or problems that may occur when the title changes hand. Even with an extensive title search of the property by a professional title company that will find hidden title problems, this is not a guarantee that undiscovered claims or issues may not arise in the future. Purchasing title insurance for your home protects you and your heirs from any challenge to your title and any unforeseen legal claims.
Homeowners can feel like owner’s title insurance is just another cost. Although you may never need it, title insurance is a small price to pay. It protects you and your investment in the event anyone challenges your ownership rights or title after you close on your home. And the peace of mind makes it well worth the price.
The issues an owner’s title insurance policy can protect against include: unpaid property taxes, a previous owner who uses the property as collateral, undisclosed liens for any unpaid remodeling or construction work on the property or taxing entities, building code violations by previous owner, forged title deeds and forged transfers of ownership rights on the property, unintentional errors in the recording or filing of documents, conflicting wills and claims related to a forged power of attorney, boundary disputes, encroachment on property survey errors, claims from an ex-spouse whose approval is missing from the sale of the property, and any other title defects that existed prior to the start of your policy.
There are two types of title insurance: owner's title insurance and lender's title insurance.
Owner’s title insurance protects the homeowner against undiscovered issues that occurred prior to the purchase of your home. An example would be unpaid property taxes. If you do not have owner's title insurance, you may find yourself financially liable for any defects with the property's title that pop up down the road. Homebuyers can purchase a basic or enhanced owner’s policy. Enhanced policies include everything that basic policies include but are expanded to include incorrect surveys or permit violations that occurred before you purchased your home, and often appreciate (up to 150%) with the value of your home.
Lender’s title insurance protects the lender's interest in the property in the event of a third-party claim. Purchasing a lender’s policy is usually required to get a mortgage loan. However, a lender’s policy only covers claims that affect the lender’s loan, so in order to protect the equity in your home in light of a title claim, it is highly recommended that you also purchase an owner’s title insurance policy.
It varies depending on the contract price, loan amount, and coverage. Please utilize our free quote tool or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
Not really. Most companies offer both basic and enhanced policies, each with the same general terms.
It depends where you live. In some states, the buyer has the option to choose which of the owner’s title insurance policy he or she can purchase. In other states, that decision is with the seller. Wherever you live, your lender will always request a lender's title insurance policy.
Title insurance is geared more toward providing coverage against legal issues that weren’t discovered prior to your purchase. While homeowner’s insurance is more specific to damage or loss due to fire, theft, or accidents.
Settlement is the completion of a real estate transfer from the seller to the buyer. Closing is simply another term for settlement.
You need to bring:
Your funds should be wired no later than 24-48 hours prior to settlement, or as soon as your lender provides you the final Cash to Close amount. If you have any issues sending your funds by wire, please reach out to your processor or contact email@example.com as soon as possible.
We can accept a personal check of up to $1,000 or a bank certified check of up to $5,000. Any amount higher must be wired.
Most clients choose our offices or their realtor's office for settlement. However it can take place at a time and location most convenient for all parties.
Any settlement can take up to one hour. Typically though, purchases with a loan take 30 minutes to one hour, cash purchases take 30 minutes, and refinances take 30 to 45 minutes.
In MD, DC, VA, and SC, only those individuals listed on the title are required to attend the settlement on the buyer side.
In PA and FL, if a buyer is purchasing or refinancing a primary residence in his/her own name and the spouse is not on the title, the spouse is still required to attend the closing and sign the mortgage. If it's a second home that the buyer is purchasing or refinancing, the non-titled spouse is not required to attend.
An EMD is a down payment made prior to closing on a house to show you’re serious about purchasing it. An EMD is generally 1%-3% of the sale price and is held in an escrow account until the sale is finalized. If all goes well, the EMD is applied to the buyer’s closing costs. If the sale falls through, for example due to a failed home inspection, the buyer gets their earnest money back.
There are multiple ways you can submit your EMD:
A deed is a legal document recording the transfer in title from one person or entity to another. It is filed, or recorded, with the county where the property is located.
Title defines property ownership, whereas a deed is used to transfer property ownership and is filed in the county where the property is located.
The two surveys are fundamentally the same in that they identify property lines. However, they differ when it comes to obtaining a mortgage and title insurance. Their primary differences are in accuracy, how they’re completed, and cost.
A location drawing is completed by a team of surveyors in an office and has a precision of one foot in each direction. In addition to identifying property lines, a location drawing also illustrates the location of any improvements made to the land, as well as lets you know of any easements related to the property. Location surveys vary between $300-$750.
A boundary survey is completed by a team of surveyors in the field and has little to no margin of error. In addition to identifying and marking property lines, a boundary survey also identifies the location of any utilities on your property and notifies you of any easements connected to your property. Because of the amount of time, manpower, and degree of precision it requires, a boundary survey is more expensive than a location drawing, typically costing $750-$2,500 depending on your location and property size.
When it comes to buying real estate, obtaining title insurance, and securing a mortgage, a location drawing is typically satisfactory. However, if the lines of a property are unknown, a more detailed drawing or boundary survey may be required.
Note: In Florida, a land survey is required if you’re obtaining financing.
It typically takes a few weeks for Legacy to receive the final survey report. Once it's received, we will forward it to you accordingly.
In most states, for properties that are connected to public water, the water bill will automatically transfer to the new owner’s name once the deed is recorded with the jurisdiction where the property is located.
Note: In Florida, most water is not transferred when the deed is recorded. Generally, the buyers have to submit the deed to whoever is servicing the property.