What Every Realtor Should Know About Owner’s Title Insurance

what every realtor should know about owner's title insurance

What every realtor should know about owner's title insurance

Make sure all of your clients are protected

You’re a real estate agent, so you know that buying a home can be overwhelming for many of your clients. Homebuyers can easily feel confused and frustrated by the mounds of paperwork they have to sign. Plus, all the fees associated with closing can sometimes be a surprise even to an experienced buyer.

Owner’s title insurance is one of those items often misunderstood by homebuyers at closing, yet its value is tremendous. As an important advisor to your clients, you are in the position to help them understand the value of owner’s title insurance and the dangers that can be incurred without it.

What is title insurance?

Owner’s title insurance is a policy that protects homebuyers’ property rights. For the same reasons that the bank requires a lender’s insurance policy, a homebuyer obtains owner’s title insurance to protect their legal claims to the property.

How title insurance protects your clients

Say, for example, your client recently purchased a new home from a builder, but the builder failed to pay the roofer. Wanting to be paid, the roofer filed a lien against the property. Without owner’s title insurance, your client would be responsible for paying this existing debt—meaning they’d be paying the roofer out of pocket instead of purchasing something nice for their new home, like new living room furniture. This is just one example of how owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers’ from various significant risks. With owner’s title insurance, your client would be protected from certain legal or financial responsibilities.

Enduring value

The good news is that owner’s title insurance protects homebuyers financially, as long as they or their heirs* own the home. For a low, one-time fee (average of 0.5% of purchase price), homebuyers can rest assured, knowing they are protected from inheriting existing debts or claims to their property.

State regulations and CFPB

Each state government regulates its own title insurance costs. In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates closing and settlement practices which can impact title insurance. Keep in mind that title insurance industry practices vary due to differences in state laws and local real estate customs. The party that pays for the owner’s title insurance policy varies from state to state, and sometimes even within a state. For more information about title insurance, or to find a company approved to issue an owner’s policy, please direct your homebuyer clients to www.homeclosing101.org.

Free resources for Realtors®

Together, real estate agents, land title insurance professionals and other stakeholders involved in real estate transactions can protect homebuyers and provide them with the peace of mind they deserve during the home closing process.

For more information about title insurance, and to get free resources for real estate agents, visit www.alta.org/realtor.

*This article offers a brief description of insurance coverages, products and services and is meant for informational purposes only. Actual coverages may vary by state, company or locality. You may not be eligible for all of the insurance products, coverages or services described in this advertising. For exact terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations, please contact a Ticor Title representative.

Streamline Your Workflow with Instant CPLs and Rates

Instant Rates Instant CPL
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference as to how smoothly a real estate transaction flows. Among the little things are Title & Escrow Rates and Closing Protection Letters (CPLs). The old school way of receiving accurate title & escrow rates or a CPL involved contacting an escrow officer or assistant to request information specific to a transaction. But what do you do if it’s after hours or on the weekend? What if your preferred closer is unavailable or in a signing appointment? What if your deal may fall apart if you don’t receive an answer immediately?

Here are two ways to eliminate delays and streamline the transaction workflow:
  1. Closing Protection Letters Delivered in 1-Minute or LessTicor Title Instant Closing Protection Letter
    Ticor Title is proud to offer a system by which we provide Closing Protection Letters (CPLs) in under one minute for our Lender Clients, providing convenience and a speedy response 24/7. When a Lender completes the CPL request form via MyTicor.com, a response via email with the completed CPL will be delivered immediately and the transaction in our system will be updated regardless of the day of the week or the time of day.
    Request CPLs instantly at: MyTicor.com
  2. Title & Escrow Rates Provided Instantly and Accurately
    For the protection of consumers, today’s transactions allow very little tolerance for variances in Title & Escrow fees disclosed on a Loan Estimate. When you take into account that title and escrow fees are filed and calculated differently in various counties across the United States, determining accurate fees for a Loan Estimate or GFE may become daunting. And don’t forget the various sales tax rates that need to be accounted for across the state of Washington.

    TicorRates.com Title & Escrow Calculator

    Click to view TicorRates.com Title & Escrow Calculator

    Visit TicorRates.com for instant rates.

    In addition, for transactions in which an owner’s policy will be purchased, the CFPB rule prescribes special mathematical calculations for disclosure of the owner’s and lender’s title insurance premiums, which may require receipt of rates for both a stand-alone and simultaneously-issued lender’s policy, as well as the owner’s policy rate. Suddenly, the little task of getting a quote has become a high-stakes math project.

    The Ticor Title rate calculator takes all the aforementioned variables into account and provides a means of accessing accurate fees instantly any time, any day. The result is streamlined workflows for our clients and the peace of mind and confidence that comes with accurate numbers.

    Try the Ticor Title Calculator today at http://TicorRates.com

New! Real Estate Buyer & Seller Guide

Real Estate Buyer Seller Resource Guide

Buyer and Seller Guide to Title & Escrow

Click for eBooklet

We are pleased to announce the availability of Ticor Title’s comprehensive Buyer/Seller guide in PDF, eBook, and Print Formats. This guide is designed to provide meaningful information and answer commonly asked questions that home buyers and sellers have throughout a real estate transaction.

Our goal with the Buyer/Seller Guide is to improve the overall experience of buyers and sellers by providing education and insights that demystify Title Insurance, Escrow, the CFPB, Taxes and more. This guide is a useful tool in setting proper expectations for the complex process of buying and selling a home.

How to Get the Buyer & Seller Guide

For your convenience, there are three ways to access the guide:

Buyer & Seller Guide Available Formats
Formats & How to Access
Downloadable PDF Download the Buyer & Seller Guide in PDF format for viewing, sharing, and local print. Download here: Buyer and Seller Guide to Title & Escrow
eBooklet eBooklet format presents well on tablets, smart-phones, and desktops and provides a means of linking to and sharing individual pages or sections of the document. Click here to view the Buyer & Seller Guide in eBook format.
Print The Buyer & Seller Guide is available in a high-quality print format upon request. Please contact your Ticor Title Sales Executive to reserve yours today.

The guide provides insights and information on the following:

Click any item below to view.

TITLE

The Title Insurance Value Proposition: 10 Reasons
What is Title? – FAQ
Why You Need Title Insurance – 21 Reasons
Life of a Title Search
Title Policy Comparison Chart
Homeowner’s Policy of Title Insurance
Homeowner’s Policy Additional Benefits
What is the Title Commitment?
5 Common Ways To Hold Title
ID Affidavit – Why is it Needed?
Vesting: Common Ways of Holding Title

ESCROW & TAXES

Escrow: FAQ
The Escrow Process
The Life of an Escrow
Opening Escrow
Red Flags in the Escrow / Title Process
Other Parties to an Escrow Transaction
The Loan Process
PMI Private Mortgage Insurance – FAQ

Taxes
PATH Act
Loan FAQ
What is Payoff
Property Tax – Annual Calendar
Closing Costs: What Buyers & Sellers Typically Pay For

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
What is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? (CFPB)
Will The New CFPB Rule Delay My Closing?
Purchase Title / Escrow Order Workflow
The New Closing Disclosure Explained

TERMS

Glossary of Terms

Minors in Title to Real Estate

Minors in Title to Real Estate

 

Minors in Title to Real Estate

There are times when a minor is in title. Maybe the deed from Mom & Dad says “Susan B. Jones, a minor.” Or, when she shows up to sign papers, the Realtor® notices the nanny who brought her in. Of course, a child can inherit property. The parents never intended for the child to own it so soon, but it happens.

Are there problems with minors in title?

Custodian

Washington has adopted the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This is the most practical way for minors to “own” property. There is no document or agreement. The statute deals with the responsibility of the custodian to the child. Otherwise, you can have a…

Trust

A trust can be set up for a minor, either separately or by language in a will. The trustee can also transfer property to a custodian (who can even be the trustee) if the trust permits it. But if there is no trust or custodianship, you need a…

Guardian

A guardianship is often what happens when both parents are deceased without making provisions for how a minor child can deal with property. It’s not absolutely necessary unless real property must be sold or mortgaged, but a court must approve any real estate transaction.

Most of us know there may be a problem, but what is it, exactly? Can little Suzie even be in title? Can she convey or mortgage the property? How?

Well, yes a minor can be in title, and it happens all the time. That’s not the problem – if she doesn’t want (or need) to sell or mortgage the property now, she will eventually be old enough to do something with it.

But until Suzie reaches the legal age of majority, she is under a type of “disability” because she lacks the capacity to enter in to binding contracts. If she signs title away when she is 17, she can disavow it when she reaches the age of majority and for some time thereafter.

What if a minor needs to sell or mortgage the property?

The only way for Suzie to sell or take out a mortgage is for someone to go to court, open a guardianship, appoint a guardian, get a court order authorizing the transaction, and have the guardian execute the deed or mortgage. Also, if a guardian has been appointed in another state, an ancillary court proceeding will be needed because the foreign court does not have jurisdiction in Washington.

All this can be expensive and time consuming and pretty onerous if the transaction has to happen now. But, there is no alternative – the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak. The conveyance to Suzie (or her inheritance) can’t be undone.

Other ways for a minor to own real estate

Download

Download a printable version of this article. CLick the following link: Minors in title to real estateMinors to Title in Real Estate

There are other more practical ways to deal with children owning real estate.  One is a trust, where title is conveyed to the trustee of the trust, or the trust is set up in a probate. In that case, the title company will need to see the trust document or the will.

A custodianship pursuant to RCW 11.114 is a simple alternative. In that case, title is conveyed to an adult of legal age: “John Paul Jones, as custodian for Susan B. Jones, under the Washington Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.” The statute provides for only one custodian per child per deed, and a trust company can be named as well, if the trust permits it. It used to be called the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, and you might see this recital in a deed coming from another state. A deed can be accepted from a custodian in any state, which need only recite the adult custodian, the custodianship and the name of the minor.

When title is vested in a custodian, title insurers do not need to call for any proof of authority or documentation. This is an advantage of a custodianship over a guardianship for all concerned. Acknowledgments for a custodian would be for the adult individual, because there is no documentation to present to the notary, while a guardian would use the representative capacity (for a fiduciary) form.

Of course, during the custodianship the adult has a fiduciary responsibility to the minor, and can’t dispose of or use the assets for personal gain. The money from a sale of a house would still belong to the minor. But third parties, including title companies, don’t need to question where the money will end up.

What happens when the minor reaches legal age?

Once the minor reaches 18, 21 or in some cases 25 years of age (it all depends on the circumstances of the transfer), the custodian is to convey the property to the minor. But as an adult she can deal with the property in her own name. With a guardianship, the court action needs to be closed, and the property distributed to the minor.  A custodianship is a convenient way for a minor to hold title, but there can be estate planning and taxation ramifications when children own real estate. An attorney should always be consulted if a minor is or will be in title.

Questions or comments?  Please share below!

What is a Land Contract?

What is a Land Contract

What is a land contract

Seller Finances the Purchase

A land contract is an installment contract in which the seller finances the purchase. The seller maintains the deed until satisfaction. It is comparable to owner financing. The buyer gives the seller a down payment and the seller acts as a bank; financing the balance of the purchase or sale price.

The Interest Rate is Negotiated by the Parties

The interest rate is negotiated and set by the parties involved. Land contracts can be created on or used on most types of property such as residential, land only, mobile home with land, commercial, mixed use.

During the Course of a Land Contract

The buyer has possession of and equitable title to the property while the seller holds legal title. If desired, the buyer may assign and convey his/her (buyer’s) interest in this contract or any part thereof, provided, however, that such assignment or conveyance shall not impair the seller’s security in the Premises. Once the contract is in effect and for the duration thereof, the buyer will be responsible for all taxes and assessments.

The seller conveys legal title by way of a Statutory Warranty Fulfillment Deed to the buyer when the contract is paid in full and all terms are fulfilled free and clear of any liens or encumbrances other than taxes and assessments for the current year.

What is a Title Commitment

What is a Title Insurance Commitment

What is a Title Insurance Commitment

Be Aware Early of Matters & Exceptions to Coverage

A Title Commitment provides a list of the matters which will be shown as exceptions to coverage in a designated policy or policies of title insurance, if issued concurrently, covering a particular state or interest in land. It is designated to provide a preliminary response to an application for title insurance and is intended to facilitate the issuance of the designated policy or policies.

Since these exceptions may point to potential problems with an intended purchase,
it is important for all parties to review the report once it is received.

Title Commitment

Corefact ProofDownload a PDF of this article here
The Ticor Title Title Commitment is an offer to issue a policy of title insurance covering a particular estate or interest in land subject to stated exceptions.

It is normally prepared after application (order) for such policy(ies) of title insurance on behalf of the principals to a real property transaction. The Title Commitment states on its face that it is made solely to facilitate the subsequent issuance of a title insurance policy and that the insurer assumes no liability for errors in the report. Accordingly, any claim arising from a defect in title must be made under the title policy and not the Title Commitment.

If a title policy is not contemplated, a Title Commitment should not be ordered. Instead, consideration should be given to requesting a Subdivision Guarantee Report or other similar title product.

After a title order has been placed, matters relative to the title policy coverage on the subject property are assembled in a title search package and examined by skilled technicians. This is when the Title Commitment is prepared and sent to the customer. The report contains relevant information so that the parties to the transaction will become aware of matters which will not be insured against by the title company.

This report is issued before the title policy, hence the name Title Commitment.

What to Look For in a Title Insurance Company [video]

What to look for in a title insurance company


Ok so you know title insurance is important for verifying the title of your property, right? So trusting in the right company is also important. But how to you pick the best provider?

Experience, Reputation, and Reliability

Well, as you work with your real estate agent or lender, here are three things to consider when looking for a title insurance company: experience, reputation, and reliability.

Every state is different so the company you choose should have solid partnerships with local businesses, representatives with significant experience in your community, and expert knowledge of your local laws.

You also want a title company with a good reputation for solving complex problems, mediating difficult circumstances, and dealing with any situation that comes up. Because you never know what might come up! And finally you want a representative who’s backed by decades of reliability with the financial stability to be around for many years to come.

So as you work with your real estate agent or lender ask about the title company and choose one that’s experienced, reputable, and reliable!

About Title Insurance

Title policies insure owners and lenders against possible losses from claims against real property ownership. The preliminary report or commitment provides advance information on matters which will be excepted from coverage. Lenders and owners are thereby given an opportunity to correct title flaws before purchasing or lending.
Title insurance originated in the 1870’s to stem a series of land ownership problems that developed from inaccurate record searches, forgeries, and related problems. Today, it offers protection from certain items that cannot be determined from public records, such as forgeries of all types, undisclosed heirs, hidden marriages and divorces, clerical errors, and invalid legal procedures and interpretations.

Policies are written on the basis of a search of public records and other records which impart constructive notice. Remember, a deed does not prove that the seller is the owner of the property. Only title insurance can protect your interest in the property from unknown encumbrances, legal conflicts and unforeseen claims.

A policy of title insurance is like a pre-paid legal agreement. Your insurer will provide legal defense against challenges to your insured title (dependent, of course, upon the type of policy coverage ) and will reimburse you financially for losses due to the covered defects in your ownership rights.

It is important to remember that a lender’s title policy does not insure a borrower against title risks. While certain types of policies pertain to both the owner and the lender, it makes good sense to help protect your borrowers by explaining the limitations of their particular coverage.

If you have any questions regarding which policy would best suit the needs of any particular situation, contact your Ticor Title representative.

What is Title Insurance [video]

What is Title Insurance


Everyone has a checklist of things they look for when buying a house, right? Like maybe looking for a quiet tree-lined street in a neighborhood with good schools not far from work. These are all important things to consider. But what about the property’s history?

How Title Insurance Works

Over the years things like liens, easements, and subdivisions may cause confusion over who has rights to the property. And the last thing you want as a homeowner is a big kerfuffle to put your property in jeopardy! That’s where title insurance comes in. When you buy or refinance a home, title insurance confirms there are no disputes over who has rights to the property.

Here’s how it works: Unlike auto, health, or homeowners insurance where you pay a monthly premium for value after an action, you pay for title insurance upfront to protect you from future claims.

By the time you’re ready to close the deal, title insurance gives you and your lender peace of mind that any disputes or restrictions are resolved or known. To learn more about how title insurance protects your rights to your home, contact your Ticor Title representative.

How to Receive Your Closing Protection Letter in One Minute or Less

Closing Protection Letter Delivery in One MinuteTicor Title is proud to introduce a system by which we provide Closing Protection Letters (CPLs) in under one minute for our Lender Clients, providing convenience and a speedy response 24/7. When a Lender completes the CPL request form via MyTicor.com, a response via email with the completed CPL will be sent promptly.

*Note that internet connection speeds, recipient email server functionality, and technological issues outside our control may have an impact on when a recipient receives CPL.

Here’s how to access a Closing Protection Letter in under one minute:

  1. Visit MyTicor.com and click on the “CPL Request” link in the left-hand navigation menu.CPL Request Ticor Title
  2. Complete the CPL Request Form (including required fields marked with *)CPL Request Form Ticor Title
  3. Check your email. The CPL will be delivered promptly to the email address specified in the Request Form.

Need to make edits to your CPL?

Sometimes things change as a transaction progresses. If you need to make an edit to any given CPL provided by our system, click the link at the bottom of the CPL titled: “CLICK HERE TO EDIT AND RE-CREATE THIS CPL”. The current information on your CPL will appear in the form where you may make edits as needed. Click the “Submit” button to submit your change request. Your revised CPL will be delivered via email as before.

Closing Protection Letters Explained

Title insurance underwriters issue commitments and policies both through direct title operations and through title insurance agents. The title insurance underwriter/ agent relationship is a limited agency relationship wherein the agent is only granted the authority to act on behalf of the title insurance underwriter for the purpose of issuing title insurance commitments or policies. Although both title insurance underwriters and title agents perform closing and escrow functions, those closing and escrow activities are outside the scope of the limited scope of title insurance underwriter’s agency contract and relationship with the policy issuing agent. Given the limited scope of the title insurance underwriter/agent relationship the title insurer has no responsibility or liability for closing and escrow activities of a title agent.

Closing Protection Letters &
Insurance Policy Comparisons

Important Differences Between Different Types Of CommonInsurance Policies and Protections
Closing Protection Letters & Insurance Policy Comparisons

By contrast, when a direct title operation or employee of a title insurance underwriter performs closing or escrow functions the underwriter is liable for those acts because those are the direct acts of the title insurance underwriter and its employees. The closing protection letter is offered to address lender concerns over the security of funds and documents handled by a title agent that is issuing the title insurer’s policy in a particular transaction by indemnifying against actual loss if the policy issuing agent does not follow the lender’s written closing instructions regarding the disbursement of funds and documents.

The closing protection letter is an agreement to indemnify the lender for actual losses incurred by the lender caused by specific closing and escrow related actions or inactions of the title agent. The closing protection letter is not an insurance contract. The title underwriter’s indemnification obligation is subject to the conditions and exclusions to indemnification stated in the body of the letter.

Subject to state law variations, the closing protection letter indemnifies against actual loss caused by failure of the named issuing agent to comply with the written closing instructions of the addressee/lender to the extent those closing instructions relate to:

  • The status of title to the land or the validity, enforceability and priority of the lien of the mortgage, including the obtaining of documents and the disbursement of funds necessary to establish title or the lien; or
  • Fraud, dishonesty or negligence of the issuing agent in handling the addressee’s transactional funds or documents to the extent such fraud, dishonesty or negligence relates to the status of the title or the validity, enforceability and priority of the lien of the mortgage.

A strong finish to another successful year, on record revenue from commercial business

2015 Company Fact Sheet

Company Fact Sheet Full Year 2015

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Click to download Ticor Title 2015 Company Fact Sheet

Ticor Title is the nation’s largest title insurance company through its title insurance underwriters – Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York – that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States.

The fourth quarter was a strong finish to 2015 for our title business, as we again led the title industry with a 13.8% pre-tax title margin. The purchase market showed continued growth, as our open and closed purchase orders grew by approximately 9% for the fourth quarter and fullyear 2015.

We had a record quarter in our commercial business, generating $303 million in total commercial revenue, an 11% increase over the fourth quarter of 2014. For full-year 2015, total commercial revenue was more than $1 billion, a 20% increase over full-year 2014.
Ticor Title 2015-Company Fact Sheet