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As a homeowner or homebuyer you need someone you can trust to make sure your transaction gets closed on time, with no hassles.
At Great American Title, we have been handling the easiest to the hardest closings for over six years without incident. We have the experience and dedication to service to make sure your transaction is handled right.
And, our customers just keep coming back. That is the best proof we have that we will provide YOU with service you can count on.
Try to find the following items in your "important papers" drawer to save money and time at your closing:
- Owner's Title Policy
- Current Loan Info
Tips to Save Money and Hassle When Closing
Every homeowner has used a title company when purchasing or refinancing their home, but how many know what they really do or how to use that knowledge to save you money. The following information is to help YOU get through the process more smoothly and save money.
If you are selling or refinancing, go back to your "important papers" from when you purchased your home. Find your survey (like a one page map of your property) and your Owner's Title Policy (usually three to six pages, most likely attached to your deed). If you can find these, they can be worth at least $500 in savings at closing. Last, make a copy of your most recent house payment statement. This will be needed to determine the amount needed to pay off your current home loan.
Frequently Asked Questions About Title Insurance
- Why title insurance?
- Who needs title insurance?
- What protection am I obtaining?
- What does title insurance cost?
- What are the other closing costs?
A home is usually the largest single investment any of us will ever make. You and your mortgage lender will want to make sure the property is indeed yours and that no one else has any lien or claim on your property.
When you purchase a home, you will purchase several types of insurance coverage to protect your home and personal property. Homeowner's or hazard insurance protects against loss from fire, theft, or wind damage. Flood insurance protects against rising water. And a unique coverage known as title insurance protects against hidden title hazards that may threaten your financial investment in your home.
Protecting your largest single investment:
Title insurance is not as well understood as other types of home insurance, but it is just as important. You see, when purchasing a home, instead of purchasing the actual building or land, you are really purchasing the title to the property - the right to occupy and use the space. That title may be limited by rights and claims asserted by others, which may limit your use and enjoyment of the property and even bring financial loss. Title insurance protects against these types of hazards.
Buyers and lenders of real estate transactions need title insurance. Both want to know that the property they are involved with is insured against certain title defects. Title companies provide this needed insurance coverage subject to the terms of the policy. The seller, buyer, and lender all benefit from the insurance provided by title companies.
What does title insurance insure?
Title insurance offers protection against claims resulting from various defects (as set out in the policy) which may exist in the title to a specific parcel of real property, effective on the issue date of the policy. For example, a person might claim to have a deed or lease giving them ownership or the right to possess your property. Another person could claim to hold an easement giving them a right of access across your land. Yet another person may claim that they have a lien on your property securing the repayment of a debt. That property may be an empty lot or it may hold a 50-story office tower. Title companies work with all types of real property.
Two kinds of title insurance benefit you in two ways:
Lender or mortgagee Title Insurance Policy:
Most lenders require mortgagee title insurance as security for their investment in real estate, just as they may call for fire insurance and other types of coverage as investor protection. When title insurance is provided, lenders are willing to make mortgage money available in distant locales where they know little about the market.
Owner's Title Insurance Policy:
Owner's title insurance lasts as long as you, the policyholder - or your heirs - have an interest in the insured property. This may even be after you have sold the property.
When you purchase a home you will pay an additional premium for an owner's policy or you may pay a simultaneous issue charge - usually a smaller amount - for the separate lender coverage. You will typically split settlement costs with the seller for the lender or owner's policy.
A title insurance policy contains provisions for the payment of the legal fees in defense of a claim against your property which is covered under your policy. It also contains provisions for indemnification against losses which result from a covered claim. A premium is paid at the close of a transaction It is important to note that there are no continuing premiums due, as there are with other types of insurance.
What are the chances of ever using my policy?
In essence, by acquiring your policy, you derive the important knowledge that recorded matters have been searched and examined so that title insurance covering your property can be issued. Because we are risk eliminators, the probability of exercising your right to make a claim is very low. However, claims against your property may not be valid, making the continuous protection of the policy all the more important. When a title company provides a legal defense against claims covered by your title insurance policy, the savings to you for that legal defense alone will greatly exceed the one-time premium.
Hidden title hazards - your last defense:
In spite of all the expertise and dedication that go into a title search and examination, hidden hazards can emerge after closing, resulting in unpleasant and costly surprises. Some examples of hazards include:
- A forged signature on the deed, which would mean no transfer of ownership to you
- An unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership
- Instruments executed under an expired or a fabricated power of attorney
- Mistakes in the public records
Title insurance offers financial protection against these and other covered title hazards. The title insurer will pay for defending against an attack on title as insured, and will either perfect the title or pay valid claims - all for a one-time charge at closing.
Your title insurance premium will amount to about one-half of one percent of the purchase price of your home, and less than ten percent of your total closing costs. The title policy is good for as long as you own the property with the payment of only one premium.
Depending on the type of transaction, you will usually be paying for such things as real estate commissions, appraisal fees, loan fees, escrow charges, advance payments (such as property taxes and homeowner's insurance), title insurance premiums, pest inspections and the like.
The amount you pay for closing costs will vary; however, when buying your home and obtaining a new loan, an estimate of your closing costs will be provided to you pursuant to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act after you submit your loan application. This disclosure provides you with a good faith estimate of what your closing costs will be in the real estate process. An itemized list of charges will be prepared when you close your transaction and take title to your new property.
Can I pay for my closing costs in installments?
No, payment for closing costs will be included with the other costs your transaction. Many different parties will have fulfilled their responsibilities and be awaiting payment upon closing. The title or escrow company will disburse money to those parties, pursuant to the escrow instructions.
Will I be allowed to write a personal check to cover my closing costs?
Your closing funds should be in the form of a cashier's check, issued by a Florida Bank, made payable to the title company or escrow office in the amount requested. A personal check will be unacceptable to the title or escrow company. An out-of-state check could also cause a delay in your closing due to possible delays in clearing the check.
The bottom line
Your home is your most important investment. Before you go to closing, ask about your title insurance protection, and be sure to protect your home with an owner's title insurance policy.