Understanding Real Estate Title Insurance Terminology

Like any industry, the title insurance business has a lingo all its own.  The Florida and Cape Coral real estate title insurance agents at Title Junction can walk you through anything you don’t understand and explain any unfamiliar terms to you.  But it always helps to do a little research on your own, which is why we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most commonly used title insurance terms.

Basic Definitions To Know

One thing that is often confused is the difference between a real estate title and a property deed.  Often referred to as “holding title to a property”, a Title provides you with legal use and possession or ownership of the property.  However, it is not a physical piece of ownership evidence; that is the Deed.

Title Insurance, itself, is an indemnity or loss-prevention insurance policy that protects the buyer from legal defects in the title that occurred prior to taking ownership of the property.  In cases where a mortgage is taken out, two title insurance policies will be issued: An Owner’s Policy for the homeowner and a Lender’s Policy, or mortgage insurance, for the mortgage lender.

Understanding Other Terms

You may hear or see the word “ALTA” as you go through the title insurance process.  ALTA stands for American Land Title Association, which is the leading trade association of title insurers. 

Another commonly used term is Escrow.  Escrow has many different meanings, depending on how it is being used.  As it relates to title insurance, it refers to the funds that you provided as earnest money when you made the initial offer on the property.  Those funds have been sitting in a special account set up by your escrow holder, often the title company.  The Closing, which is the final meeting between the buyer, the seller, the lender, title agency, realtors and possibly lawyers where property ownership is transferred.

The Title Report

One of the main duties of a Fort Myers title insurance agency like Title Junction is to conduct a Title Search on the property in question.  A Title Search is an in depth check of public records to make sure the property is legally available for sale and there are no encumbrances or liens against it.  This also shows the ownership history of the property, including mortgages and liens against it.

A Lien is a financial claim to the property.  It may be a mortgage, mechanic or contractor lien or court judgment.  Liens generally must be paid off before a mortgage lender will allow the property sale to take place.  A property may also have an Encumbrance, a legal interest in the land that may affect its value.  Encumbrances could be easement rights, zoning ordinances, claims or liens, unpaid taxes or restrictive covenants.  Encumbrances do not restrict the sale of the property.

The best way to ensure you are comfortable with these terms is to speak with your title agent.  Title agents use these terms all the time and can explain exactly how each is relevant to your personal transaction.  An open relationship with your title agent will ease any pre-closing anxiety you may have.

Real Estate Title Info & More: Key Details About For Sale By Owner Property Transactions

When it comes to person to person selling, the Internet truly has changed everything.  It seems like no matter what it is you’re looking to offload, you can simply take an ad out on a website dedicated to posting an promoting your items and casually wait for interested parties to contact you.  Sellers have quickly learned that size of merchandise proves no obstacle; both large and small wares alike can be advertised with the same straightforward ease, unilaterally affecting a wide range of industries.

Even the Florida real estate industry has experienced a huge surge of person to person selling.  Recent trends have shown that the state has shown a steady uptick in Fort Myers/Cape Coral for sale by owner listings.  Empowered with the virtually endless online promotional opportunities, Floridians have recognized that a Cape Coral/Fort Myers for sale by owner process is to employ the help of a professional real estate title insurance agency.

What Real Estate Title Insurance Is… And Why You Need It

It’s no secret that residents can quickly garner online attention and interested buyers with their Cape Coral for sale by owner properties.  However, it’s critical to keep in mind that not using a realtor does bring with it some specific factors that will require focus and consideration throughout the process.  Both buyers and sellers must ensure that all the necessary paperwork and legal requirements of the transaction are met.  Both sides of the sale are learning that the best way to meet all necessary mandates throughout the Cape Coral/Fort Myers for sale by owner process is to employ the help of a professional real estate title insurance agency.

Understanding some of the basic facts about real estate title insurance can help determine if these services make sense for your Fort Myers/Cape Coral for sale by owner property.  In its simplest form, real estate title insurance offers third party approval that the title of the house and land involved in a Fort Myers for sale by owner transaction has no concerning red flags associated with it.  A diligent real estate title insurance firm will dig back to the property’s origin and ensure there are no liens, unpaid taxes or other possible weak links that could disrupt the sale.  Teaming with a provider that specializes in real estate title insurance is not only the best way to keep your transaction on track, lender facilities often require it before they’ll agree to loaning out the funds needed for purchase.

A Qualified Real Estate Title Insurance Firm Will Offer Comprehensive Services

When searching for a qualified real estate title insurance firm, it’s important to remember to look for a wide range of service offerings to ensure all your transactional needs are met.  Escrow management is always a crucial consideration that often requires third party navigation to avoid unexpected glitches.  Additionally, even the most straightforward Cape Coral for sale by owner transaction is full of legal documentation.  Always look for an agency that offers Cape Coral/Fort Myers notary services and even access to consultation to completely streamline the paperwork process and ensure you’re precisely following the law.

How To Select A Title Insurance Agency

Between contract negotiations, title searches and home inspections, selling a home can be nerve-wracking. To add to your tension level, once you’ve accepted the offer, everything is out of your hands. A title insurance agency will get involved at this point and start the background work needed to get the closing to fruition. However, there is no reason for you to feel completely out of the loop at this point. By selecting a title insurance agency that you feel comfortable with and who has a friendly and knowledgeable staff, your closing fears can be alleviated.

You Have The Right To Choose Your Title Insurance Company

In Lee County, Florida, sellers have the right to choose which title company handles the real estate closing. At our Cape Coral title insurance agency, we often see sellers who have been referred to us by their realtor or friends and family. Indeed, many times sellers do simply go with whichever agency is recommended to them. This usually works out just fine, but if you are ever uneasy about a title insurance agency or feel like you won’t get the service you desire throughout the closing process, you should shop around and find a different agency to handle the closing.

What To Look For When Selecting A Title Insurance Agency

When selecting a title agent to handle your closing, you will want to check their level of experience. The company you choose should be licensed in the state in which you are purchasing. Ideally, you will live nearby so you can easily drop materials off at the agency or pick things up if you need to. The company should have appropriately sized staff for the amount of business they do.

It is also helpful to have as many services housed under one roof as possible. An agency that can provide escrow services and notary services will make things much easier for you. With title insurance, escrow and notary services under one roof, you can rest assured that all necessary paperwork and forms will be on hand at closing time.

In-House Florida And Cape Coral Notary Services

Throughout Florida and in Cape Coral, notary services are necessary at any real estate transaction, which is why we have a full-time notary public signing agent on staff in our office in Fort Myers. Notary publics must sign and witness many documents in a real estate transaction which is why it makes sense for title agencies to have them on staff.

Above all, the agent and supporting staff should be approachable. You should feel comfortable asking questions and contacting the agency with any concerns you have. You are selling a home or property, and you should be confident and comfortable with the entire closing process.