Here is where you can get a lot of answers to questions you may have, or may not have known you have. If there’s something missing here, let us know – maybe we can turn it into an article for everyone!

First things first: who chooses title company?

The short answer is: whoever is buying the title insurance. Surprisingly, this varies from region to region. Here in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky, the buyer gets to choose – and then will hopefully write it into their purchase contract.

Does it matter if the title company is written into the contract?
We think so. But it depends on how much control you want over your finances. If there’s a title company that you have researched and you like (maybe us?), and they are written into your contract, then your lender can’t make a different choice for you down the road. Unless that’s what you want, of course. In which case, you should read more about Affiliated Business Agreements.
So what am I paying a title company to do?
We, the title company, take care of the title examination, pay off any prior mortgages and/or liens, pay the seller their proceeds, get the mortgage and deed recorded with the county, and prepare the title insurance policy when necessary. We put together the HUD -1 statement (aka the settlement statement) which shows everyone where all the money is going. There are often other issues to be sorted before closing too, like same name issues, child support, probate and the like. Each situation can bring something new and different for us – no “cookie cutter” here!
What exactly is a title?

A “title” is basically three things:

a.  Rights and interests that are disclosed in the public records or by physical inspection of the property, i.e., deeds, mortgages, leases, etc., parties in possession, utility easements, etc.

b.  Rights and interests that are not recorded but exist, i.e., limitations imposed by laws and statutes, etc.

and c.  Rights and interests that are hidden, i.e., forgeries, secret marriages and unknown heirs.

So what is title insurance?

It is insurance against undisclosed problems with the title – something that may not have been discovered in your title search such as forgery and fraud. If you are borrowing money from a lender, you are probably required to buy a policy for them. If you spend just a bit more and buy an owner’s policy for yourself, it protects you against financial loss due to title defects, liens or other matters of public record. Title insurance will defend you against a lawsuit attacking your title, or reimburse you for the actual money lost. Before a policy is issued, we conduct in-depth research to detect, prevent, and minimize risks and losses caused by title problems. We do this by searching public records to develop and document the chain of title to the property and by identifying all outstanding claims. Our underwriter is Old Republic National Title Insurance Company – one of the largest and soundest in the nation!

Why would I want title insurance?
In short – to protect your investment. But title insurance, instead of protecting against physical dangers, protects against loss of value from problems that may exist in the title, or arguments made by others that such defects exist. Lately, we’ve seen problems with fraud and forged signatures on deeds. (See the long list below of possible problems.) If you were uninsured and your right to the title is challenged, the best case scenario is you only lose time and money. Worst case scenario – your home! For just a one-time only cost, you may find the peace of mind is worth it! (And it lasts as long as you or your heirs own the home.)
But really, what could go wrong with the title, anyway?

Some examples for you to consider:

  • Someone said they were the owner of the land, but they are not.
  • Forged title documents, basic errors in tax records, people who claim to have “power of attorney” who really don’t, heirs missing or not disclosed in title
  • documentation, deeds from a bigamous couple, or deeds delivered after the death of one of the people involved, without the pre-written consent of the deceased.
  • Mistakes were made in recording legal documents.
  • It is discovered that a will is not legally valid.
  • A deed is to, or from, a defunct corporation.
  • Wills were misinterpreted.
  • Deeds were made by people of unsound mind.
  • Deeds were made by minors.
  • Deeds were made by non-citizens.
  • Erroneous reports were furnished by tax officials.
  • Estates were executed with key people absent.
  • There is an undisclosed divorce of a spouse who claims to be an heir or a spouse who is supposedly, but not legally, divorced from someone involved in the proceedings.
  • Children were born or adopted after the date of a will that involved the property.
  • Surviving children were omitted from a will that involved the property.
  • Title records were falsified.
  • Creditors made claims against a property that was sold by heirs or other people named in a will.
  • Deeds were made under duress as a last option to foreclosure.
  • Easements (limited rights for other parties to use the land) exist that were not located by a survey.
  • A deed incorrectly identifies public property as private property.
  • Representations on legal documents (e.g., Notary seals) are invalid or incorrect.
  • The property was condemned but there is no official record of the condemnation.
How are title insurance premiums set?
The rates are set by each state’s Department of Insurance. That means that everyone in your state pays the same premium rate for each type of policy. The only differences in costs between title agencies are the various fees that are charged for the closing-related services.
OK. So now I've read the list, and I want title insurance for the home I'm in now! What do I do?

Don’t panic. Many people don’t know this, but you can purchase title insurance at ANY TIME! Contact us so we can give you the details you need.

Why would I need title insurance if I'm only refinancing?
Title insurance on a refinanced mortgage is usually offered at a reduced rate, and it assures your lender that you actually own the property. It insures that no one else has a preemptive position in front of the lender, and if someone does, it pays the lender’s losses.
Why would I want title insurance on a brand new house?
First, see the Big Long List of Problems above. Then, consider that even if your home itself hasn’t had previous owners, the land that it stands on has. Your policy insures you as the owner of a specific piece of property. It clarifies the property rights and insures that your builder hasn’t used it as collateral on another loan, that there are no unidentified easements affecting your property and that no problems will surface to hurt you later.
What Do I You Need For My Closing

Buyer and Seller Each Brings:

Certified funds or personal check (see below) to make all their payments (and maybe your checkbook, just in case).

Photo identification (passport, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card).

It’s as easy as that.

Can the buyer or seller write a personal check at closing?
Yes, but only one check, and it cannot be over $1,000.
What are 'certified funds'?
Wires, certified checks, cashiers checks, official checks, credit union checks or money orders.
Can I use cash?
Well, if you’re borrowing from a lender, the most you can bring is $9,999.99. However, if you are doing a cash deal for your purchase, you can bring a suitcase full of money – as much as you want!
Can we show a home repair allowance on the HUD?
If a lender is financing the transaction, typically their answer is no.
Can the seller write a check directly to the buyer for the home repair allowance?
 If the check for repairs can’t be made directly to a third party (contractor), it is best for this to be handled outside of closing. We look at these requests on a case by case basis. We can’t do it for 100% financing (conventional or VA).
I'm selling my condominium - what extra information will be needed for closing?
The Home Owner’s Association contact information. This is usually provided by the listing agent.
If a property was bought before getting married, does the spouse need to attend the closing?
Yes, they do. The new spouse will have to release dower rights to the property. That is, his/her rights by marriage.
As a buyer, I am married, but my spouse isn't on the loan. Do they still need to attend the closing?
Yes, because your spouse will need to sign the mortgage document (and some other miscellaneous documents) in order to mortgage their dower interest in the property.
What is the difference between General Warranty, Limited Warranty and Quit Claim Deeds?
  • A General Warranty Deed conveys marketable title and all the grantor’s right, title and interest to the grantees.
  • A Limited Warranty Deed conveys marketable title from the grantor and that he/she does warrant and will defend the same to the grantee. He/she makes NO promises so far as the former owners of the property.
  • A Quit-Claim Deed conveys whatever interest a grantor has to the grantee. He/she makes NO representations as to title.