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

8 Reasons Why Title Insurance is Worth the Cost [Video]

Owners title insurance


When the CFPB wrote the new rule, they didn’t see the need for the cost of the owner’s title policy to be disclosed on the loan estimate if the borrower is not going to pay for it. The new rule only requires the lender to disclose the cost of the owner’s title policy on the Loan Estimate if the borrower will be paying for the policy.

Unfortunately, if the borrower is paying for it, the charge must be labeled as optional on both the loan estimate and closing disclosure. This is a concern because telling a consumer owners title insurance is optional may dissuade home buyers from purchasing the same protection their lender receives. Title insurance is an insurance product like no other. And protects the homeowner for as long as they own their home.

Here are 8 more reasons why title insurance is worth the cost.

  1. Title Insurance protects the interests of property owners and lenders against legitimate or false title claims by previous owners or lien holders. In effect it insures the investment, unlocking its potential as a financial asset for the owner.
  2. We access, assemble, and analyze title information, in addition to handling the escrow and closing process.
  3. Title problems are discovered in more than one-third of residential real estate transactions. These “defects” must be resolved prior to closing. The most common problems are existing liens, unpaid mortgages, and recording errors of names, addresses, or legal descriptions.
  4. An Owner’s Title Insurance Policy protests the owner for as long as he or she has an interest in the property; and the premium is paid only once, at closing.
  5. Title Insurance is different from other forms of insurance because it insures against events that occured before the policy is issued, as opposed to insuring against events in the future, as health, property or life insurance do. Title Insurance is loss prevention insurance.
  6. We rely on a search of existing records to identify possible defects in order to resolve them prior to issuing a policy. We perform intensive and expensive work up-front to minimize claims. The better we do this, the lower our number of claims.
  7. Researching titles may be extremely labor-intensive since only about 15 percent of public records are computerized. The industry invests a substantial amount of time and expense to collect and evaluate title records. As a result, the industry’s claims are low compared to other lines of insurance.
  8. Dollar-for-dollar, Title Insurance may be the best investment a property owner can make to protect their interest.

Share the Value

The CFPB believes the consumer should make a decision to obtain Owner’s Title Insurance coverage based on available information. So talk the talk. Tell your customers about the value of Title Insurance. Share with them these eight values. Direct them to the American Land Title Association website where they can learn more about the importance of an Owner’s Title Policy.

The Benefits of an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy

Is Title Insurance Optional?

As part of the new CFPB rules, creditors are required to disclose the cost of a Title Insurance policy if it’s the borrower’s responsibility to pay for it. However, the charge must be listed as “optional” on both the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, which might discourage homeowners from buying this protection.

So let’s talk about this word, “optional.” Yes, it’s technically optional, but for most people, owning a home is the biggest investment of their life! Don’t you think they should protect it? And by the way, creditors require their own title insurance policy. That’s how important they think it is to protect their investment.

Protection & Peace of Mind

Here’s something to consider: Title problems are discovered in more than a third of residential real estate transactions. Over the years, things like liens, easements, and subdivisions cause confusion over who has rights to the property, and the last thing the homeowner wants is drama that puts their investment in jeopardy. But when a consumer has an owner’s Title Insurance policy, these issues are known or resolved before signing on the dotted line, even things that are done illegally or without proper documentation giving borrowers peace of mind that their investment is protected for as long as they own the property.

So there’s our two cents about the value of an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy and listing it as an “optional” expense. The one-time cost for an owner’s title policy is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you gain. And the good news is we’re part of the nation’s largest family of title insurance underwriters, so we’ve got you covered.

To learn more about how the CFPB changes impact you, contact a local representative.

Ticor Title Expands to Serve 19 Counties in Washington State

Map of counties in WA where Ticor Title provides title insurance

Did you know that Ticor Title provides title insurance in 19 major counties in Washington State?

Benefits

  • Streamlined transactions across WA State
  • Work with your preferred Escrow Team
  • Consistency and unrivaled financial strength
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The past year has brought steady growth for our operation in the State of Washington and our goal is to streamline the process for our clients who have transactions across our evergreen state.

You’ll have the benefit of working with your preferred Ticor Escrow team while having the consistency and financial strength that Ticor’s Title Insurance provides.

For your convenience, we have included an illustration here that shows the areas we serve. In addition we’ve included a link to an illustrated PDF document that you can save and share for future reference.

List of counties where Ticor provides Title in WA:

  • Adams
  • Asotin
  • Benton
  • Clark
  • Cowlitz
  • Ferry
  • Franklin
  • Grant
  • Island
  • King
  • Kitsap
  • Pierce
  • San Juan
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish
  • Spokane
  • Thurston
  • Whatcom
  • Yakima

How to order

You have the choice of placing an order via MyTicor.com or contacting your local preferred Ticor Title sales executive, customer service representative, or escrow closer to open title in any of the counties highlighted here.

Open an order online

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Thank you for joining the thousands of other real estate professionals who have made Ticor Title their preferred title & escrow company in the Pacific Northwest! We are grateful for your continued support.

Vesting Types – Single, Married, or Separate…

Title to real property may be held in a variety of ways in the state of Washington. And the specific way a vesting is written determinines how title is held.  Below are several explanations and examples of the common ways title may be held by individuals or two or more people in Washington State.

ONE SINGLE PERSON

Vesting-TypesWhen holding title as a single person, any of the following vestings are acceptable:

  • John Q. Brown, a single man
  • Mary S. Jones, a single individual
  • John Q. Brown, an unmarried person
  • Mary S. Jones, an unmarried woman

It is acceptable, although unnecessary, to add “as her/her separate estate” to the above vesting.

TWO OR MORE SINGLE PEOPLE

Tenants in Common

When two or more individuals hold title together, they do so as tenants in common, even if the deed does not reflect that (unless the deed creates a joint tenancy). This means that each of the individuals has a separate and distinct claim to some fraction of the ownership involved. The following are examples of acceptable vestings:

  • John Q. Brown and Mary S. Jones, both single individuals
  • Mary S. Jones, an unmarried woman, and John Q. Brown, an unmarried man
  • John Q. Brown, Mary S. Jones and John J. Johnson, all single people, as tenants in common

Then specific amount of ownership can be established by inserting in the vesting the percentage of interest that each of the buyers will hold. An example of this would be:

  • Mary S. Jones, a single woman, as to an undivided 75% interest and John Q. Brown, a single man, as to the remaining undivided 25% interest

If no percentage is set-forth, each of the tenants will have a presumed equal percentage.

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Vesting-Types-Download a pdf copy of this article: Vesting Types – Single, Married, or Separate…

Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenancy is two or more single individuals as “joint tenants with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common”. This means the joint tenants have agreed that if one of them dies, the other will automatically inherit the deceased person’s interest in the property. To create such an estate, the deed must reflect the above verbiage and should contain the following acknowledgement signed by the buyers:

“The grantee acknowledges that it is their intent to acquire the property described herein as joint tenants with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common.”

An example of vesting is:

  • John Q. Brown and Mary S. Brown, a marital community
  • John Q. Brown and Mary S. Brown, husband and wife
  • Mary S. Brown and John Q. Brown, wife and husband

It is possible for a husband and wife to acquire title as joint tenants with right of ownership rather than community property. However, Washington law does not favor joint tenancy between married persons and it is recommended that you consult an attorney before choosing this vesting.

A MARRIED PERSON AS THEIR SEPARATE ESTATE

When one member of the marital community wants to hold title separately from their spouse, title would be vested as follows:

  • Jane Q. Doe, a married woman as her separate estate

This vesting is usually perfected by recording a Quit Claim Deed from the spouse. In the absence of a deed, proof that community funds are not being used for the purchase of the property, or a Decree of Legal Separation with the necessary language establishing separate property would be required. In the event that none of these options are available, the deed can still be recorded with this vesting, but the title company would not be able to insure title in this manner. Instead vesting would be insured as follows:

  • John W. Brown, presumptively subject to the community of interest of his spouse.

If financing is being obtained for the purchase, the scenario may not be practical as the lender will probably require that title be perfected in the separate estate as condition to the loan. Automatic homestead laws may also require the execution of deeds and encumbrances by both the spouses if the subject property is their primary residence.

Deed Types – What Are The Differences?

Signing a Deed

What is a Deed?

Signing a DeedA deed is a legal instrument used to grant a right. The deed is best known as the method of transferring title to real estate from one person to another, often using a description of its “metes and bounds, by lot, block and subdivision, or by parcel/lot and short plat.” However, by the general definition, power of attorneys, commissions, patents and even diplomas conferring academic degrees are also deeds.

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Deed-Types-t

Download a pdf copy of this article: Deed Types – What Are The Differences?

For an Instrument to be a Valid Deed:

  • Deeds must be in writing. Under the Statute of Frauds, interests in real property must be conveyed by written deed.
  • Deeds must evidence consideration. The consideration may be nominal, conveyed as a “gift”, for “love and affection”, or for “$1.00 and other good valuable consideration”.
  • Deeds must contain a legal description, which identifies the real property being conveyed.
  • Deeds must be signed by the grantor (old owner) and the title officer and escrow closer must confirm the grantor’s identity and authority.
  • Deeds must be acknowledged “by the party [signing the deed]…before some person authorized by [the Real Property Conveyance Act]… to take acknowledgments of deeds”.
  • Deeds must be delivered. Delivery occurs when the grantor parts with physical control over the deed with intent “that the deed should presently pass title.”

Deed Conditions

Conditions attached to the acceptance of a deed are known as conditions. In the transfer of real estate, a deed conveys ownership from the old owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee), and can include various warranties. The precise name of these warranties differ by jurisdictions. However the basic difference between them is the degree to which the grantor warrants the title.

Types of Deeds

Types and examples of Real Estate Deeds
Types of Deeds
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Special Warranty Deed This warranty may be limited only to claims which occur after the grantor obtained the real estate.
Warranty Deed The grantor (grantor name) for and in consideration of (insert consideration) in hand paid, conveys and warrants to (grantee name) the following described real estate (insert description), situated in the county of , state of Washington. Dated this — — day of — —, 20___.
Bargain and Sale Deed The grantor (grantor name), for and in consideration of (insert consideration) in hand paid, bargains, sells and conveys to (grantee name) the following described real estate (insert description) situated in the county of __ , state of Washington. Dated this — day of , 20___.
Quitclaim Deed The grantor (grantor name) for and in consideration of (insert consideration) conveys and quitclaims to (grantee’s name) all interest in the following described real estate (legal description), situated in the county of , state of Washington. Dated this — — day of _, 20__.
Deed of Trust Used as an equivalent to a mortgage. A trust deed isn’t like the other types of deeds; it’s not used to transfer property directly. It is commonly used in some states (Washington, for example) to transfer title to land to a “trustee,” usually a trust or title company, which holds the title as security (“ in escrow”) for a loan.
Grant Deed Used for the transfer of property from one person to another person. Each party is required to sign it. Then the document must be notarized, or marked accordingly to show that it was signed before a Notary public. The reason the document must be notarized is that these transactions are frequently forged.
Sheriff’s Deed A deed issued to the buyer of property (grantee) that was sold under court order to pay off a debt.
Tax Deed Sale The forced sale, conducted by a governmental agency, of real estate for nonpayment of taxes. It is one of two methodologies used by governmental agencies to collect delinquent taxes owed on real estate, the other being the tax lien sale. Real estate taxes are considered delinquent if not paid within a specified period of time. If the taxes are not paid, after notice is given to the property owner (as well as others holding an interest in the property, such as a mortgage company), the property is sold at public auction to the highest bidder.

Celebrating the Completion of the New Raft Island Bridge

The New Raft Island Bridge

The New Raft Island BridgeOn Sunday, June 29, the community of Raft Island celebrated the opening of a new bridge that replaced the original 1958 bridge. Ticor Title would like to congratulate the Raft Island community for this major milestone. We are grateful to have provided title insurance for this project.

Construction of the New  Bridge

For the first six months of 2014, residents of Raft Island  watched the construction of the new bridge unfold adjacent to the original 57-year old bridge.  On Sunday, June 29 they celebrated its completion with the boom of a cannon, a picnic, live music, and a crossing by a car from the LeMay car museum.

The Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council awarded RIIA first place for Community Facilities projects in 2014.   This category includes projects like hospitals, health clinics and public safety facilities. In an October 1 ceremony, RIIA was cited by 300 IACC members.   The island was commended for facing up to the difficult choices and tasks inherent in replacing an aging bridge over a navigable coastal area.

Bridge History

In 1957 Raft Island was purchased for $80,000 by Archie Matthew Sr. Who initiated construction of the original bridge in 1958.  Matthew then sold the majority of the island in 1959 for the sum of $348,000. In 1995, after nearly 40 years of service, engineers determined that the original raft island bridge had a projected lifespan of approximately 20 years.  Below is a timeline leading up to the construction of the new bridge.

  • 1958 Matthew constructs 2-Lane 788-ft x 20-ft Timber Bridge with Concrete Decking
  • 1977 RIIA purchases the Bridge and Access Road (off Kopachuck) for $50,0000.  RIIA is a taxable  non-profit home owners association (HOA).
  • 1995 Engineers Inspection reveals on-going deterioration with remaining bridge life of approx 20 years (to 2016) **
  • 1996 Membership approves Annual Special Assessment called the Bridge Replacement Fund (BRF)
  • 1996 Each lot assessed $130 BRF with 8.04% added each year thereafter (BRF will be $610 in 2016)
  • 2005 Updated construction estimates reveal BRF falling behind projected bridge replacement construction costs.  Board initiates full review of bridge condition and options.
  • 2007 Board studies many options including possibility to get a Road Improvement District approved by Pierce County.
  • 2009 Volunteer Bridge Committee formed to review Bridge Options
  • 2010 membership approves preliminary design of new bridge in order to compete for low interest Federal Stimulus loan.    State and Federal agencies give favorable pre-screenings of plan.
  • 2011-2012 in a series of votes, RIIA voters overwhelmingly approve replacing bridge (75%+)
  • Though taxed at 33% rate, the BRF is able to cover 25% of the cost of new bridge
  • USDA offers 80% guarantee to any bank that will provide RIIA with long term loan
  • 33 banks pursued for loan.  All report a 30 yr. bridge loan is outside their expertise
  • USDA agrees to provide 30 yr. loan at fixed interest (no construction financing offered.)
  • More banks pursued until Northwest Farm Credit Services agrees to provide construction line of credit under an ARC bond.

Insuring Title for the Raft Island Bridge Project

We are pleased and honored that Ticor Title provided the title insurance policy for the Raft Island bridge project.  An unusual project such as this brings unusual challenges.

To explain, we have provided a brief Q&A with our Sr. Commercial Title Officer, David Watson:

Q: What role did Ticor Title play in the development of the new Raft Island Bridge?

A: Ticor Title provided a lender’s title policy to NW Farm Credit Services for approximately 5.7 million in coverage to complete the financing package for this project. Initially the residents of Raft Island spent 20 plus years raising money for the construction of a new bridge and the NW Farm Credit Services loan was the last piece of the puzzle.

Q: What is involved in a title search for a project like this?

A: This was a fun search completed by Miriam Hatcher a veteran of over 30 years examining Pierce County properties. This was her first bridge. The interesting thing about this is that since Raft Island Improvement Association had an existing bridge and had been conveyed the property, we didn’t have to deal with the State of Washington or Pierce County. Our contacts were for the most part the Raft Island Improvement Association Board.

We had typical issues you see when dealing with waterfront property, however for the most part, the title exam process was not terribly difficult which was a pleasant surprise going into the project. Since the Raft Island Association had been working on the project for so long, much of the heavy lifting, permits, and approvals had already been put in place and were recorded for our review.

The biggest issue for us was ensuring that we were getting a full picture of the documents recorded which affected the bridge and the land around the bridge. Miriam had to spend a lot of time reviewing documents that had no real effect on the bridge project due to the inconsistency in how recorded documents were posted in the plant for property such as this. This was truly a “round peg in a square hole” type of title exam.

Late Afternoon Traffic on the Raft Island Bridge – [Hyperlapse Video]

Q: Why was Ticor chosen as the title insurer for this project and what unique skills or expertise did your team bring?

A: We were chosen for this project by way of a recommendation. Lee Smith an agent at Windermere Gig Harbor was asked by the Raft Island Board to recommend a title company and he provided them with Lucy Ritchie’s contact information. This is a prime example of the importance of word of mouth and maintaining a good reputation in the real estate community and the opportunities this brings for future business.

Q: What was the biggest challenge with this project from the title insurance perspective?

A: From a title insurance prospective this wasn’t as daunting a challenge as we initially thought when we first started looking at the project. The construction for the new bridge had already begun when we started on the project, bringing up potential lien priority issues. But NW Farm Credit Services didn’t need coverage to shield them from this potential lien liability so that ended up being a non-issue. This ended up being a pretty routine construction loan transaction due in large part to the preparation of the Raft Island Improvement Association and the years they had spent getting the project permitted, financed and approved.

NEW! Buyer & Seller Resources for Smoother Transactions

Buyer-Seller-Guide-1New Buyer/Seller Guides

Check out the freshly updated Buyer and Seller resource library on myTicor.com! The new guides and booklets are free to download and can improve the client experience with every real estate transaction.

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Educating & Communicating for Greater Success!

buyer-seller-resourcesClear communication, knowledge, and mutual understanding can make all the difference in a real estate transaction. Read more