What is Title Insurance?
Title insurance provides coverage for certain losses due to defects in the title that, for the most part, occurred prior to your ownership. Title insurance protects against defects such as prior fraud or forgery that might go undetected until after closing and possibly jeopardize your ownership and investment.
Prior to the development of the title industry in the late 1800s, a homebuyer received a grantor’s warranty, attorney’s title opinion, or abstractor’s certificate as assurance of home ownership. The buyer relied on the financial integrity of the grantor, attorney, or abstractor for protection. Today, homebuyers look primarily to title insurance to provide this protection. Title Insurance companies are regulated by state statute. They are required to post financial guarantees to ensure that any claims will be paid in a timely fashion. They also must maintain their own “title plants” which house duplicates of recorded deeds, mortgages, plats, and other pertinent county property records.
Why is title insurance needed?
Title insurance insures Buyers against the risk that they did not acquire marketable title from the Seller. It is primarily designed to reduce risk or loss caused by defects in title from the past. A Loan Policy of Title Insurance protects the interest of the mortgage lender, while an Owner’s Policy protects the equity of you, the Buyer, for as long as you or your heirs (in certain policies) own the real property.
When is the premium due?
You pay for your Owner’s title insurance policy only once, at the close of escrow. Who pays for the Owner’s Policy and Loan Policy varies depending on local customs.
What is Escrow?
An escrow is created when money and/or documents are deposited by two or more persons with a third party which are to be delivered upon the happening of certain conditions. The third party is known as the escrow agent or escrow holder.
The authority given to an escrow holder is strictly limited by instructions provided by the parties involved. Consequently, an escrow holder acts on mutual instructions deposited into escrow and DOES NOT represent any party. The escrow officer is authorized by instructions to allocate funds for items during the escrow period, such as real estate commissions, title insurance, liens, recording fees, and other costs. Instructions also specify the method of collecting funds, proration issues, time limitations, and all the terms of the transaction. The escrow process protects all parties involved by retaining money and documents until the mutual instructions are met.
What to Expect at Your Signing
As you near the end of your transaction, and when Escrow has received and prepared the required documents, you will be contacted to set an appointment for you to review, approve and sign your documents. This portion of your transaction is referred to as “the signing” and will usually occur a few days prior to your actual close date.