The job of a title company begins well before settlement. Real Estate Title and Escrow, LLC (RETE) begins with a thorough examination of land records (title search) and court records. We identify and resolve any potential problems in the transaction and clear any judgements and/or liens against the property or parties prior to closing. Simultaneously, RETE obtains all information necessary for closing. This includes communicating with lenders, real estate agents, the buyer/borrower and the seller, the County and the State, along with any Homeowner's Association or Condominium Association.
At settlement, RETE serves as escrow agent for the transaction. We collect funds, assure monies are disbursed in accordance with the parties' written instructions, and record any and all legal instruments to ensure that title to the property is properly conveyed.
After settlement, we follow up to confirm that all liens or potential liens that were satisfied at closing are released. Finally, RETE issues insurance policies to the Buyer (in a purchase) and/or the Lender.
A title search can show a number of title defects and liens, as well as other encumbrances and restrictions. Among these are unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgements against the current or prior owner, and restrictions limiting the use of the land.
Yes. There are some "hidden hazards" that even the most diligent title searches may never reveal. For instance, the previous owners may not have revealed that they were divorced, resulting in possible claims by judgement creditors. Other "hidden hazards" include fraud and forgery, defective deeds, mental incompetence, confusion due to similar or identical names and clerical errors in the courthouse records. These defects can arise after you have purchased your home and can jeopardize your right of ownership to the property.
When you buy a home, or any property for that matter, you expect to enjoy certain benefits from ownership... to be able to occupy and use the property as you wish, to be free from debts or obligations not created or agreed to by you, and to be able to freely sell or pledge your property as security for a loan. Title insurance is designed to protect these rights. Without an owner's title insurance policy, you may not be fully protected against errors in the public records or hidden defects not disclosed by the public records. As a result, you may be held fully accountable for any liens, judgements or claims brought against your new property. However, your owner's title policy insures that if such an occasion arises, you will be defended, free of charge against all covered claims and paid up to the amount of the policy to settle valid claims.
In almost every instance, a lender will require you to purchase lender’s title insurance protecting it up to the value of its loan on the property. This coverage only protects the lender, not you, and the coverage diminishes as the loan is paid off. As you build more equity in the property, you expose yourself to a higher risk of loss occasioned by a title defect. In this situation, the protected lender will suffer no loss while you as the owner of record bear the substantial risk of the damage. Owner’s title insurance will protect you against any covered loss from failure of title up to the full amount of the policy. Moreover, we offer certain policies that include automatic inflation protection, meaning that the face amount of title insurance policy increases by 10% per year for the 1st five years.
If a claim is made against your property, title insurance will, in accordance with the terms of your policy, assure you of a legal defense-plus pay all court costs and related fees. Also, if the claim proves valid, you will be reimbursed for your actual loss up to the face amount of your policy.
For as long as you or your heirs retain an interest in the property, and in some cases, even beyond.